For many people with mental illness — who lack access to health services and an adequate support system — jail has become a de facto home. Of the approximately 10 million individuals nationally who cycle in and out of local jails each year, roughly 14.5 percent of men and 31 percent of women have serious mental illness and more than 50 percent have a diagnosable substance use disorder. In New York City, the number of individuals in jail with mental illness has grown from 29 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2014, causing increasing concern for public health and safety. These trends are mirrored across the country (e.g., Cook County, Illinois and Los Angeles).
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