That was the situation in 1880 9 putting the mentally

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That was the situation in 1880. 9 Putting the Mentally Ill Back into Jails The mentally ill began reappearing in America's jails and prisons in large numbers approximately 90 years after the 1880 census. In 1974 and 1975, for example, Glenn Swank and Darryl Winer assessed 545 inmates in the Denver County Jail and reported, "The number of psychotic persons encountered in the jail was striking, as was the number with a history of psychiatric hospitalization, particularly long-term (more than one month) or multiple hospitalizations. … Of the jail inmates with a history of long-term psychiatric hospitalization, many had been state mental hospital patients." They also noted a widespread belief among jail personnel "that there has been a marked increase in the number of severely mentally disturbed individuals entering the jail in recent years, but unfortunately there are no earlier data available for comparison. … The [jail] system seemed to have inherited responsibility for these persons by default rather than preference." 10 A study of five California county jails carried out in 1975 by Arthur Bolton and Associates found that 6.7 percent of the inmates were severely mentally ill at the time of examination. 11 Gary Whitmer's 1980 study of 500 mentally ill people who had been charged with crimes emphasized the causal relationship between the person's mental illness and his or her crime, and he cited examples such as a man who had "smashed the plate-glass window of a retail store because he saw a dinosaur jumping out at him"; a woman who refused to pay her restaurant bill because she believed that "she was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ"; a man who harassed two other men whom he believed to be "CIA agents who had kidnapped his benefactress"; and a woman with paranoid delusions who went up to a man on the street and "struck the victim in the right buttocks" with a hat pin. 12 At the time of their arrests, only 6 percent of the mentally ill studied by Whitmer were involved in any treatment program, leading him to conclude that the reforms brought about by deinstitutionalization had "forced a large number of those deinstitutionalized patients into the criminal justice system." By the early 1980s, interest in the problem of the mentally ill in jails and prisons was growing, increasing as their numbers increased, and two methodologically sound studies of the problem were carried out. In Chicago, Linda Teplin, spurred by the observation that "mental health professionals speculate that the jails have become a repository for the severely mentally ill," interviewed 728 jail admissions using a structured psychiatric interview and found that 6.4 percent of them met diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, mania, or major depression. 13 In Philadelphia, Edward Guy and his colleagues interviewed 96 randomly selected admissions to the jail and reported that 4.6 percent had schizophrenia or manic- depressive illness, which they labeled as "an alarmingly high incidence of mental illness among inmates of a city jail." 14

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