Lee Provost from the Daily Journal in Kankakee, IL writes about Equitas National Advisor Judge Steve Leifman, who presented at the Kankakee Country Club in Kankakee, IL last month.
Leifman, a national leader in solving complex and costly problems of people with untreated mental illnesses involved in the criminal justice system, was the featured speaker this week at the Duane Dean Behavioral Health Center program “Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System.”
Since 1980, Leifman noted, the number of people going to jail has tripled and time of sentence has increased by a whopping 166 percent.
“As you drill deeper into these numbers, what you find is that much of these increases are due to untreated mental illnesses and substance abuse,” he said.
He added: “Jails should not be de facto mental health facilities. The answer is not building better jails, but to provide treatment for where the need is.”
In fact, he stressed, in the U.S. people with mental illnesses are nine times more likely to be sent to jail or prison rather than hospitalized.
“We all need to work together to get a handle on this.”