• Jada Hector
  • David Khey


The fact that jails have become a key focal point for mental illness over the years is not inherently the central problem. This may be a semantical point, but it is an important one to think over. As discussed earlier, the history of caring for those with mental illness is fraught with horrors, stigma, abuse, and misunderstanding. Shifting the primary location of care for patients from the asylum to the communities they reside was quite intentional and, in part, driven by humanitarian interests. The perception of this shift is remarkable. What better way exists to “fix” a broken system than destroying it and freeing the tortured souls bound up in its clutches? Truly, these are almost identical interests that drove the creation of asylums in the first place just a generation before—recall our discussion of Dorothea Dix and her advocacy for these very reforms. While it is tempting to simply suggest that jails are no place for individuals with mental illness, the broader truth is that jails can perform a vital role in the continuum of treatment when tailored evidence-based programs are put into place. This brings us to the central problem: jails are utilized as the de facto focal point for mental illness largely without process, decisive action, and dedicated programming. Thus, shifting the responsibility of care effectively did little to solve the underlying issue of a broken continuum of care, with the operational word being care.


Constitutionally acceptable level of care Cost of incarceration Cost of jail Correctional officers Intake Justice-based interventions Systemic failure Prevention Screening Assessment Evidence-based services Gaps in services 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jada Hector
    • 1
  • David Khey
    • 2
  1. 1.New OrleansUSA
  2. 2.University of LouisianaLafayetteUSA

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