Race and Policing
Know of content that should be considered for this collection? Please suggest a report!
2 results found
An estimated 7.9 million adults in the United States live with a severe mental illness that disorders their thinking. Treatment in most cases can control psychiatric symptoms common to these diseases, but the system that once delivered psychiatric care for them has been systematically dismantled over the last half-century. Today, half the population with these diseases is not taking medication or receiving other care on any given day.Individuals with mental illness also make up a disproportionate number of those killed at the very first step of the criminal justice process: while being approached or stopped by law enforcement in the community. Enormous official and public attention has become focused on the official undercounting of fatal police shootings; barely noted in the uproar has been the role of severe mental illness – a medical condition that, when treated, demonstrably reduces the likelihood of interacting with police or being arrested, much less dying in the process.By all accounts – official and unofficial – a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness.
People from racial minorities who have mental health conditions are routinely routed to the criminal justice system instead of to alternative, community-based programs shown to better address their needs. Based on extensive community outreach, Dignity and Power Now seeks to highlight race-based disparities in treatment of persons with mental health conditions in Los Angeles (LA) County Jails. The largest jail system in the United States and the world, LA County Jails are often referred to as the nation's largest de-facto mental health hospital warehousing approximately 19,000 pre-sentenced and sentenced individuals. Despite an alarming lack of data on mental health conditions ofpeople from racial minorities held in LA County Jails, increasing numbers of testimonies reveal that the provision of mental health services– where available – is impacted by the race of the prisoner, while lack of access to mental health services leads to incarceration.