The federal government has accused South Dakota of unconstitutionally warehousing the mentally ill and disabled in nursing homes. Meanwhile, at least 16 percent of the nation’s jail and prison inmates are estimated to be mentally ill and about 40 percent of the mentally ill have been incarcerated. Many of the homeless are also mentally ill.
Deinstitutionalization, which began decades ago, was supposed to improve treatment, but was not followed by funding for better care.
Do we need to return to mental hospitals and other forms of institutional commitment to treat those with severe mental illness? Or are there other, more effective means of treatment?