Health Matters: Mental Health in Jails

Health Matters Jail

Did you know jails and prisons have become the nation’s largest psychiatric facilities?

The National Alliance of Mental Health reports that 25% of people in the criminal justice system have serious mental illnesses and people with mental illnesses are nine times more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized.

University Medical Center Psychiatrist Dr. Marisa Giggie’s practice includes mental health care for inmates, and said it’s a complex issue.

“A lot of them have addiction issues as well, or they have untreated psychosis like schizophrenia or some other series of mental illness,” Giggie siad.

Many are homeless and may be disturbing the peace or criminally trespassing.

“They end up in the jail seriously mentally ill and sick,” she said. “They’re hearing voices, they’re depressed.”

Suicide is the No. 1 cause of death in jails, so ensuring inmates get proper treatment is imperative for their mental health, she said.

Watch the whole interview below.

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