The Criminalization of the Mentally Ill

The Criminalization of the Mentally Ill

The problem

Mentally ill defendants who are incompetent to stand trial or not criminally responsible are not getting treatment in a health facility but, instead, are being illegally housed in jails. The State has failed and refused to provide the necessary resources and beds thereby exacerbating their mental illness, endangering public safety, and violating their constitutional rights.  

My plan

I am working to hold the State and Health Department accountable with legislation mandating that a treatment bed be made available within a reasonable time or the Health Department may be held in contempt of court. I am also working to increase our ability to get people the treatment they need at intervention points well before they become immersed in the criminal justice system.

Additional resources

Maryland unveils plan to add beds in psychiatric hospitals (The Baltimore Sun)

Lawmakers plan hearings on spike in assaults at psychiatric hospital (The Baltimore Sun)

Judge holds Maryland officials in contempt, orders them to open dozens of psychiatric beds (The Baltimore Sun)

Acting Secretary of Health and four other officials with the Maryland Department of Health Held in Contempt of Court (Press Release)

Forensic Services Work Group: Final Recommendations (Report)

Trends in Psychiatric Beds in State Inpatient Facilities (Data)

Lawmakers to address shortage of psychiatric beds for jail inmates who need hospitalization (The Washington Post)

Judges ask lawmakers’ help on shortage of psychiatric beds (The Baltimore Sun)


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