Martha Teichner’s CBS Sunday Morning report, Incarceration Nation, deserves special attention because it offers a brief, but important, focus on the tremendous social and financial costs of incarceration in the US. It can be difficult to “get out the word” on problems like these, but Teichner’s report is a resource for anyone in the behavioral health field who wants to start the conversation and point it in the right direction.
As the report points out, many of the 2.4 million Americans in jail and prison today are members of poor and minority communities—those most likely to be homeless in urban areas, to lack adequate healthcare, and therefore, to run afoul of law enforcement. The report touched upon the high numbers of non-violent offenders being held, the potential of jail diversion, the promise of education and treatment during incarceration, and the importance of helping incarcerated individuals to “re-enter” society in a productive manner after their time is served.
At a time when every community, county, and state is scratching for funds, it would pay all in the behavioral health services to explore how our services can be of help to local law enforcement and to the many with behavioral health disorders who come into contact with the justice system. To learn more about how the San Antonio/Bexar County, Tex. took on this problem in an award winning fashion
, see this article. Or, click here to see all of our criminal justice related coverage