Report Shows That Prison Cells are Filling up with the Mentally Ill

It comes as no surprise for those who have any connection with or knowledge of the Cook County jail, but in a report from California states that more than 33,000 mentally ill inmates account for about 25% of the entire prison population in that state.  It is well- known in Cook County that many of the approximately 10,000 inmates squeezed into the Cook County jail are represented by at least 2,500 mentally ill persons.

In California, in recent years, the number of mentally ill inmates in its prison has nearly doubled.  The same may well be true in Illinois where the state has faced closings of mental health facilities and other state run hospitals that have cared for mentally ill patients in the past.  State budget cuts have crippled or closed many of these mental health facilities.  Those persons who are mentally ill literally have no place to go and are repeatedly picked up by the police locally, state-wide and imprisoned usually in the local county jail system.

Also adding to the prison population of the mentally ill is the fact that some states and the federal government have increased the penalties for drug use.  As a result, the mentally ill who often use drugs as a way to “self-medicate”, prisons in Illinois and around the country are filling up with these patients.

In Monterrey County, California, a San Francisco-based law firm is suing that county for housing the mentally ill in adequate facilities and programs.  This law firm has also brought a lawsuit in Sutter County, California over the deaths of two inmates, one of which committed suicide.

In addition, all over the country, the mentally ill are problematic in county jails just because they are not usually able to follow instructions or relate well with the other general prison population.  Without proper medical treatment, the mentally ill are just becoming sicker and more at risk.  It’s a problem in Cook County as it is around Illinois and the rest of the country.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Oakbrook, Palos Park, Orland Park, Lemont, Summit, Riverside, Park Forest, Forest Park, Crestwood and Chicago (Midway), Illinois.