Of course it's New Jersey. The state is officially treating more mentally ill patients in prisons than the state's psychiatric hospitals. This is so sad. People with mental illnesses don't belong in prison with criminals.
Data collected by the Treatment Advocacy Center says that there are 1,543 beds in psychiatric hospitals in the entire state of New Jersey. The New Jersey Department of Corrections reported that there are approximately 3,000 people being treated for mental illnesses in the prison system.
Dr. Ralph Woodward, the managing physician for the state Department of Corrections said:
“Inmates go through a brief examination done within four hours of arrival, just to make sure they don’t have any immediate problems such as medication needs or they’re in pain or they have mental health issues that might cause great anxiety or suicidal thinking, so we do that right as soon as they get off the bus. Then within 72 hours they’ll sit down with a mental health professional who will go into a much deeper interview with them as for suicidality and their adjustment to the prison system.”
They do have residential care beds in prisons as well as other units to deal with acute psychiatric episodes. Some inmates actually do well getting treatment while incarcerated.
It would be better if there were more hospital beds. Being in prison gives you a stigma. I can imagine that would add onto the self-stigma of having a mental illness.