Decriminalization of Mental Illness

March 14, 2016

In a state ranked 49th for mental health funding, with one of the largest uninsured populations, and an ever increasing number of incarcerated people, Florida is in desperate need of mental health care reform. Today, the three facilities that hold the highest number of individuals with mental illnesses are not psychiatric hospitals, but jails. The criminal justice system has become the “de facto” mental health care system, simply because there are so many persons with psychiatric disabilities who are not receiving treatment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 40% of adults with serious mental illnesses are arrested at some point (usually for petty crimes like loitering or disturbing the peace).