Thursday, January 25, 2024

One in 5 officer involved killings involve mental illness

Police are often called to respond to situations involving people experiencing mental health crises—with disastrous results. According to The Washington Post's database of fatal police shootings, at least 1 in 5 people fatally shot by police since 2015 were experiencing a mental health crisis at the time. More than 40 percent of the people incarcerated in state prisons nationwide had a history of mental health problems, according to data from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, according to The Appeal.

In the absence of better healthcare, municipalities often turn to police and jails to house and "care" for people in crisis—big-city jails like New York's Rikers Island and Los Angeles County's Twin Towers Correctional Facility are often referred to as some of the largest mental health institutions in the country, for example. Experts say criminalizing people for their health problems only makes things worse.

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