“Why Must the Sufferer be Compelled to Suffer On?”
(April 22, 2014) Our recent report on the treatment of inmates with serious mental illness shows that prison and jail officials are being asked to assume responsibility for the nation’s most seriously mentally ill individuals, despite the fact that the officials did not sign up to do this job and are not trained to do it; and yet are held responsible when things go wrong, as they inevitably do under such circumstances.
Dr. Walter Kempster, a psychiatrist and former superintendent of the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Wisconsin, decried the placement of people with serious mental illness in jails and prisons in the Marquette Law Review over a decade ago.
"Who can think of the number of unfortunate beings now confined in the receptacles of the different counties of the state, and realize in the most remote degree, the sorrowing hearts their misfortunes have created; of hopes once bright now dashed; of the ambitions that lured beyond strength; of life's work begun but left unfinished; of affections ripened only to be blasted--who can consider these calamities of our fellow mortals, rendered insane by perhaps no act of their own, unwittingly thrown upon the charity of the state, bound by the unyielding fetters of a terrible disease......who can think of these things, of the measureless calamity of insanity, and turn idly away, closing eye and hand, withholding that which is known to be required to make life comfortable?
“We can conceive of no argument, economical or humanitarian, that can be adduced to show why aid should be postponed; why the sufferer must be compelled to suffer on (The Marquette Law Review, 1999).”
We agree. There are now 10 times more mentally ill in jails and prisons than mental hospitals. We also want to know why "the sufferer must be compelled to suffer on."
Read or download “The Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in Prison and Jails: A State Survey.”
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