Recent reforms in California have resulted in a reduced prison population, alongside a declining crime rate, yet the mental illness epidemic in our justice system is on the rise.
Over the past decade, the percentage of individuals incarcerated with a mental illness has drastically increased by 77% & on average, individuals with diagnosed mental conditions receive prison sentences that are 12% longer than those without.
A Stanford report reveals that California justice reforms are leaving those with mental illness behind. Read the full report here.
On the other side of the conversation, news stories often connect violent behavior to mental illness. However, according to a 20-year study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University less than 5% of violent crimes covered by top-tier media in the US is directly related to mental illness.
This harmful narrative further perpetuates stigmas around mental health & dishonors victims by ignoring systemic responsibilities & the complexity of factors associated with violent crime.
In addressing our response to crime and mental illness, we must continue to examine these issues from all sides to ensure that individuals receive the support that they truly need.