Editorial: Stepping Up to ID, Help Mentally Ill
By the Editorial Board
About 2 million people with serious mental illnesses are committed to county jails and state prisons across the country each year, according to the Council of State Governments Justice Center.
And John Wetzel, Pennsylvania secretary of corrections, says that the state prison population on any given day includes more than 14,000 inmates with mental illnesses.
Yet, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, those broad numbers are not matched by detailed data that could help find better solutions than jail for more of those people.
To that end, Wetzel has enrolled Pennsylvania in a Council of State Governments Justice Center program, Stepping Up, that aims to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in county jails and connect them with the service they need to keep them out of jail.