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Overincarceration Of People With Mental Illness

In a new white paper for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, mental health policy fellow Kate Murphy and policy intern Christi Barr present some of the myriad issues attendant with the overincarceration of people with mental illnesses in Texas, and make recommendations for both local and state governments to encourage alternatives when feasible.

Part of the problem, they state, is a lack of coordination between state and local governments that has impeded local officials’ ability to resolve the problems associated with people with mental illnesses who cycle through local jails–facilities already ill-equipped to administer mental health care to begin with.

They recommend that the state legislature delegate the state’s responsibility to provide mental health services to local governments that are already making decisions about how to handle mental illness in local jail populations.

In turn, local governments should continue to reallocate funding to expand effective, efficient community-based mental health services that may prevent or could be an alternative to incarceration.

The entire paper can be found here.

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