America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness

An urgent exposé of the mental health crisis in our courts, jails, and prisons

America has made mental illness a crime. Jails in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago each house more people with mental illnesses than any hospital. As many as half of all people in America’s jails and prisons have a psychiatric disorder. One in four fatal police shootings involves a person with such disorders.

In this revelatory book, journalist Alisa Roth goes deep inside the criminal justice system to show how and why it has become a warehouse where inmates are denied proper treatment, abused, and punished in ways that make them sicker.

Through intimate stories of people in the system and those trying to fix it, Roth reveals the hidden forces behind this crisis and suggests how a fairer and more humane approach might look. Insane is a galvanizing wake-up call for criminal justice reformers and anyone concerned about the plight of our most vulnerable.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Law / Mental Health

On Sale: April 3rd 2018

Price: $28 / $36.5 (CAD)

Page Count: 320

ISBN-13: 9780465094196

What's Inside

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"Roth writes movingly of the human toll of incarceration... She convincingly diagnoses the glaring inadequacies of mental health treatment in prison but she is not out for scapegoats... Insane is rife with sharp, brutal details that pull the reader beyond the realms of abstract policy debates."—New York Times Book Review
"A searing exposé about the criminalization of mental illness.... Though the subject matter dictates that much of the book is relentlessly depressing, the author is such a talented information gatherer and fluid stylist that the narrative becomes compulsive reading. An eye-opening book that cries out for change."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Roth strikes a powerful balance between big picture analysis and individual stories to make this searing account of America's misguided treatment of the mentally ill hard to ignore."—Publishers Weekly
"Alisa Roth lays bare the true costs of incarcerating, rather than attempting to help, our nation's mentally ill citizens.... Insane is a sobering and profoundly important read for any American with a conscience."—Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy
"With heartbreaking stories of suffering, Alisa Roth shines a much-needed light on the crisis that afflicts the overwhelming number of mentally ill people locked away behind bars, where they are not treated but abused. This is essential reading for anyone who cares about how our country treats its most vulnerable citizens."—David Cole, national legal director of the ACLU, and author of Engines of Liberty: How Citizen Movements Succeed
Alisa Roth's Insane provides an anatomy of our troubled system of dealing with people with mental illness who commit crimes.... Extensively researched and exquisitely written, Insane is a must read for policymakers, mental health professionals, mental health consumers and their families, and the general public."—Elyn R. Saks, author of The Center Cannot Hold
"Alisa Roth's Insane clearly and objectively lays out the extent and history of our abandonment of the mentally ill while setting forth thoughtful pathways forward.... This book should be required reading for any person involved with the criminal justice system or legislatures."—Thomas J. Dart, sheriff of Cook County, Illinois