“People with mental illness are 10 times more likely to be in a jail than in a psychiatric hospital”– What does that actually not mean??

From the archives

Hopeworks Community

Newspapers trumpet the news:

“People with mental illness 10 times more likely to be in a jail than a pschiatric hospital.”

Before we assume this is saying something it is not, what does this statement not mean?

1. It does not mean that criminal behavior is caused by a defiency in psychiatric hospitalization. It may or may not be correlated, but that is no proof of causation. I dont know, but would be willing to bet, that many of the “mentally ill” in jail have a previous history of psychiatric hospitalization.

2. It also ignores other correlations like poverty, ability to get and hold a job, family history, past history of abuse and other adverse events, race, age, history of substance abuse, and past criminal behavior among other things.

3. For example, the previous post talks about adverse childhood experiences and the research around that concept and how it affects…

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