Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dahlia Lithwick on the mentally ill in jail

I'm reviving this somewhat moribund blog to post a link to an article by Slate's Dahlia Lithwick on a mentally ill man who died after four months in jail awaiting trial after stealing about five dollars worth of junk food. She cites the indifference of the public to the issues of the mentally ill, which I have been aware of ever since many mental facilities were closed in California way back in the 1970s with the idea that the mentally ill would be best served by outpatient facilities. Living in a California town that, due to climate, coast and a mostly tolerant attitude, I am well aware of what was hoped for and what actually happened. Like many things in this country at the current moment, there is a sort of stasis in relation to how to deal with, think about or treat the mentally ill.

Lithwick always writes lucidly about matters of law. She reminds us that our own apathy about resolving things is part of the problem. Here is her article. It's called Make This Death Not in Vain. And here is a little background history on this sorry state of affairs from the New York Times.