Mental Illness Behind Bars: The Hard Lessons of Orleans Parish

November 22, 2019

(Undark) – Crawford’s case shows what can happen to prisoners with mental illness who rattle around in a broken system — and there are many. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, every year in the United States 2 million people with serious mental illness are booked into jails. And while black prisoners are less likely to suffer from severe mental illness compared to the broader prison population, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a 2016 survey of 22,000 people entering jails suggested that basic screenings simply don’t catch mental health issues for black and Latino prisoners.