People with mental health conditions are significantly overrepresented in every aspect of the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, they may be unnecessarily arrested, treated unfairly in court, and punished in jails and prisons that are unprepared for them and can do real and lasting harm.

The best way to improve the criminal justice system’s treatment of people with mental health conditions is to keep them out of the system in the first place. For those who are imprisoned, we need to ensure they are treated fairly, receive the treatment they need, and receive support upon re-entry to the community to help prevent recidivism. 

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MAMH Perspective

Reforming Massachusetts’ criminal justice system’s response to people with mental health conditions is a MAMH priority. MAMH advocates for:

Replication and funding for science based diversion services to retain youth and adults in the mental health and public health systems; adequate funding of pre-release and post-release services to curtail recidivism; adequate and appropriate mental health services in our prisons and jails; ending the use of solitary confinement with people with mental illness; and putting the control and operation of Bridgewater State Hospital where it belongs – in the Department of Mental Health (DMH).