When so many Americans have trouble seeing a doctor for the common cold, getting proper mental health care seems like a luxury. Unsurprisingly, many people who most need mental health help wind up in the corrections system.
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The Miami-Dade delegation in the state legislature recently invited Gov. Charlie Crist and other top officials to tour the county's pre-trial detention system. From the press release:
"The Miami-Dade County Jail is the largest de facto psychiatric facility in Florida. On any given day, approximately 1,200 defendants in the Miami-Dade Jail receive psychotropic medication. This represents almost 20% of the total inmate population and costs local taxpayers over $50 million dollars annually. People with mental illnesses remain incarcerated 8 times longer than people without mental illnesses for the exact same charges, at a cost 7 times higher. Many of these individuals have recycled through jails, state forensic hospitals, and the prison system for the majority of their adult lives."
This is a serious problem, and we hope Governor Crist accepts the invitation. Someone tell him it will be exactly like that show Oz. That might pique his interest. Read the rest of the press release here.