Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How Many Times Must We Say This? We Need To Stop Using Jails And Prisons As Mental Asylums



So ridiculously true!


It’s stupid. It’s much more cost-effective to treat mental illness than to punish people for it


It’s stupid and cruel.


I’ve not read your book but will find it. I did read Ron Powers’ book No One Cares about Crazy People and in it he explained out the mental asylums were shut down and the mentally ill were then caste out into the world to fend for themselves. It’s so heartbreaking. It’s one of the reasons we don’t encourage my grandson to leave the house. I worry if he was approached for any reason he would flip out and maybe end up in jail. I think the trauma of being detained would cause a problem that could lead to something more severe. I thought they were going to start building new mental facilities but have not heard anything more about it in a long time. I guess once again, the mentally ill are forgotten


I wish everyone felt that way! Maybe if we start addressing schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder as a brain disease/ disorder people would look at it entirely different!


I think the bottom line is that the general (clueless) population thinks its okay for our family members with brain disorders to be in jail.


It’s the empathy piece that’s missing. So often people are judged by their behavior without anyone ever considering how much a person is suffering. — The System does make it difficult to get the basic needs met for someone who is mentally ill.

I will say, though… I have (fortunately) met some amazing law enforcement officers (at the hospital, actually) who get it. I had a whole team of them helping me talk to my son once, encouraging him to get the help he needed.


I agree that there are good people everywhere. Some great law enforcement officers and deputies have helped us. Some awful ones have made things worse.

No matter who is working there, jail is a terrible place for a person with severe mental illness. It is not therapeutic and may make the illness worse. The only good thing about it is containment if the person could hurt themselves or someone else, but people with SMI are also dramatically more likely to be victimized in jail and prison than the rest of the community members in there.

HOSPITALS with secure rooms, well trained and adequate staff, good observation rooms, and lots of treatment, not just medication, are desperately needed by our devastatingly ill family members. As far as I can tell, a person receiving adequate, effective, timely, and continuous treatment for schizophrenia is the exception to the rule of neglect, endangerment, and harm brought by the current system.

Yes, there are great cops! And I know they would much rather see people get treatment than arrest them again and again or take them back to inadequate treatment again and again.


My 22 year old son spent a year to the day in the county jail after he assaulted and injured me. We were trying to get a Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity plea approved for him because we knew that he wouldn’t do well in prison because of his illness (Sz). A year in jail, with a sub-therapeutic dose of medication was horrible for him. He was not acutely psychotic but was clearly struggling. He says “I was just in hibernation mode when I was in jail”. The NGRI was successful and he is living in a forensic unit in the state hospital, where, in my opinion, he is getting excellent care. The change in him is amazing after 6 months. Medication and treatment and care are what helps mental illness, not jail or prison. This has been such a learning experience for me. I am so grateful that he’s there instead of jail and for the healing path that he’s on now. May it continue.