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

Page Count: 320

ISBN-13: 9780465094196

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"With her deep research and powerful narrative, Alisa Roth lays bare the true costs of incarcerating, rather than attempting to help, our nation's mentally ill citizens. As she makes crystal clear, the solution to this crisis lies not in simply expanding mental health services for those now locked up. We must instead stop criminalizing our country's most vulnerable men, women, and children in the first place. 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
"The prescription of choice for too many cases of mental illness in our society is prison or jail--especially where those afflicted are poor. 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. Instead of providing interventions that prevent, or treat early, serious mental illness, we respond at the back end by putting people with these disorders in jails and prisons. Roth tells her story through compelling and moving case studies, explains what we are doing right, and provides a kind of roadmap of where we should go. 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