The tragic death of Sandra Bland in Texas has brought a swirl of attention to the issue of jail and mental health. Across the country, people are sitting in local and county lock-ups because they can’t afford bail or are awaiting desperately needed psychiatric services. In this episode, we talk to Diana Claitor of the Texas Jail Project, who offers her perspective on the issue. Then, we get an eye-opening account from a woman in Texas whose boyfriend, a veteran with PTSD, has been sitting in a Collin County jail for more than 18 months:
“It was obvious that he was having symptoms of PTSD, and I’m just shocked at how difficult it’s been for him to get help. And even now, he’s being sent to a hospital, but it’s not going to be for PTSD care; it’s going to be to restore competency to go to trial, and he’s likely to go back to a county jail and sit for several more months after that.
This wouldn’t be the first time the Hogg Foundation tackled the relationship between mental health and criminal justice reform. In this blog post on the Huffington Post, Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director, and Dr. Lynda Frost, director of planning and programs, argue for strategies that would divert persons with mental illness from the criminal justice system into appropriate treatment.