mental health

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There are currently two million individuals incarcerated in American jails and prisons. In the past 40 years, the prison population in this country has grown by 500%. According to The Sentencing Project, this unprecedented increase is due more to the changes in criminal justice policy and sentencing laws than to changes in the nation’s crime rates.1 Another recent, disturbing trend in criminal justice has been the significant increase of deaths—nearly one-third of them attributable to suicide in jails and prisons.2
It can be easy to take for granted the comforts that most of us have in our homes. Indoor plumbing, running water, heat, a safe place to sleep, food—even the people fortunate enough to enjoy these amenities will periodically fall ill. Yet they can maintain their cleanliness, get adequate rest and most likely have access to reputable health care. Now, take all of that away. Suddenly, an alarming range of bodily and psychological impediments can arise.