Stepping Up (CSG – Council of State Governments, Justice Center) proclaims its mission to be reducing the number of people with so-called mental illness in America’s jails.
The incarcerated population in Allegheny County Jail disproportionately suffers from “psychiatric disabilities”. According to a 2019 report from a university in the area, roughly 75% of the jail population has a mental health (*) or substance use disorder. This is an astounding number. It clearly evidences the fact that Pennsylvania is doing nothing to care for and protect people afflicted with these tragic illnesses. While PA’s state hospitals have become criminal justice service centers for prosecutors, PA has decided to provide “housing” for people disabled by these horrific illnesses in jails and prisons.
(*) These are not “mental health” issues, “mental illnesses”, or “psychiatric disabilities”, they are grave neurological disorders that strip afflicted persons of the ability to audit and control both goal-directed and non-volitional behaviors…and that is why they are unjustly drafted into the criminal adjudication system
The Jail Oversight Board in Allegheny County is also failing, by resisting being educated to understand the distinction between Mental Health and Cerebral Illness. You cannot advocate for just treatment under the law unless you understand the difference. The operatives at CSG Justice Center are not equipped to do the work of educating because they fundamentally misunderstand the essential nature of these illnesses. To them, so-called mental illness is just a “criminogenic factor’.
Meanwhile, Allegheny County courtrooms are now said to be “trauma-informed”, which should be cause to wonder who in the court system has been drinking the Mental Hygiene Movement’s kool-Aid.