Criminal Justice or Mental Health System?

In an article for the Los Angeles Times, Abby Sewell highlights one individual as an example of how our nation’s criminal justice system has also become our mental health system. Following a severe head injury— which in time led to depression, followed by hallucinations and paranoid delusions—Reginald Murray was arrested after attacking a motorcyclist.

As Sewell reports, while in the jail’s psychiatric unit, Murray became more lucid and felt that he was “coming back to who he was.” But after he was sentenced to prison with no mental health facilities, Murray suffered from paranoid delusions and became even worse than before.

Sewell notes how it was fortunate for Murray that his attorney got him a hearing at the Los Angeles mental health court, which sent him to a state hospital for treatment that helped his paranoia subside. She also bookends Murray’s story with statistics showing how mentally ill offenders are all too often sent to prison instead of being diverted into psychiatric facilities to get treatment.

While some of the most violent and dangerous mentally ill defendants may be sent to prison, many should instead be diverted to mental health facilities rather than being locked up in prisons with inadequate treatment options, ultimately exacerbating their problems.

More Blog Posts

09-02-2020 01:00pm

How Market-Based Management® cultivates a contribution mindset

The Koch Associate Program (KAP), a year-long opportunity that blends professional development with real work experience, works with early-career professionals who want to discover their passions, develop their unique talents, and jumpstart their careers as social entrepreneurs.

Read more

08-28-2020 01:00pm

How families and students — not institutions — are innovating education

We recently spoke with Adam Peshek, a Charles Koch Institute senior fellow, who covers a range of education policy issues, from education choice to innovative learning models.

Read more

08-18-2020 02:26pm

Customizing K-12 education to meet the individual needs of students and families

CKI's Lisa Snell offers her perspective on how the ongoing pandemic may affect education, challenges of our current educational system, and how she’d like to see a “permissionless” system.

Read more

Sign up for updates