“…even as crime has decreased and the jail population has declined, the percentage of incarcerated mentally ill has risen.”

Latest News (from mike)

New Mental Health Initiative to Provide Intervention and Resources for Court-Involved New Yorkers

City data shows that, on average, 36 percent of inmates in New York City (including 58 percent of women inmates and 42 percent of inmates ages 16 to 18) have some level of mental illness, compared to less than one out of every four in 2005. An even greater percentage of young adults in Department of Correction custody – 42 percent – have been diagnosed with a mental illness. The average length of stay in jail for inmates with mental illness is 112 days, compared to 60 days for those without mental illness. For young men, ages 16-24, the difference is more pronounced (156 days compared to 67 days). The mentally ill are less likely to be able to post bail and stay in jail twice as long as inmates who don’t have mental health issues,* even if they’ve committed similar crimes and have similar bail amounts because they tend to have fewer financial resources and/or family and friends willing to post their bail. This disparity in length of stay holds true even when controlling for charges, risk of re-arrest, and actual re-arrest rates. Differences in length of stay also persist regardless of gender or the borough in which the crime was committed. Inmates with serious mental health issues cost approximately three times as much to incarcerate than those without mental illness because of the resources dedicated to appropriate supervision, medical and mental health care.

*bold added.
for full article click on: http://www.mikebloomberg.com/index.cfm?objectid=C8A409AB-C29C-7CA2-FFD78D4C626A1FF8

one has to wonder how this relationship relates to poverty and homelessness, as the coalition for the homeless reports that :

• Studies show that the large majority of street homeless New Yorkers are individuals living with mental illness or other severe health problems. Four out of five street homeless New Yorkers are men.

(street homeless refers to the homeless who are not in shelters)

and as the “sheltered” homeless population has risen by 57% since mike became mayor, could it follow the unsheltered population has also risen, and that rather than dealing with homelessness as homelessness, these people are being criminalized? arrested for panhandling, arrested for sleeping on church steps, arrested for sleeping on benches, arrested for sleeping on sidewalks…

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