The following letter to the editor written By Danna Mauch from our partner Massachusetts Association for Mental Health was published in the Boston Globe.
Mass. lawmakers advance crime reform
Behavioral health should be key area in reform of criminal justice system
Massachusetts legislators have come far in developing a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill. Unfortunately, while many important items are garnering attention, there are other factors that could be of maximum benefit to our Commonwealth and its most vulnerable citizens that are not being explored.
People with behavioral health conditions are overrepresented in every aspect of our criminal justice system. An estimated 27 percent of Massachusetts state prison inmates previously have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness; of those incarcerated in our county jails, 44 percent have been diagnosed with mental health conditions and 26 percent with serious psychological disorders.
Most prisoners in Massachusetts are eventually released; nearly four out of 10 will be re-incarcerated within three years.
Access the letter online here.