Treating the mentally ill is a crisis in the criminal justice system throughout the United States. With the deinstitutionalization movement starting in the 1950’s, more and more individuals with serious mental illness were released into communities without treatment or services. As a result these individuals became involved in various criminal activities resulting in incarceration in jails and prisons throughout the country. This article explores the difficulties this influx of prisoners created in the criminal justice system, causing it to function as a defacto mental health provider without adequate resources. The application of Penrose’s Law, a theory that was developed in the late 1930’s, may have made todays criminal justice crisis predictable and inevitable.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robert_rigg/4/