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Comment by al rogers on December 19, 2014 at 10:26am

The privatizing of mental health was a failure.   

Because federal funding was cut by 75% early in the Reagan administration several hundred thousand mental patients were discharged…. Many of them Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD( Veterans were a huge percentage of the several hundred thousand discharged) who eventually either committed suicide or jail or homeless.  Prisons have become the new place to house the mentally ill. This began with Reagan in the 80's. Patients were discharged with no place to go and hospitals were closed and the ones that were not closed had funds cut so that stays were made extremely short. Not enough resources were made available to cope with the mentally ill and consequently, many ended up on the streets and then they became "homeless" instead of "patients."

Soon, due to the problems they would present, they became inmates in jails and prisons and a handful went to nursing homes, which usually could not manage them, so they would be back out on the streets and then back in jail and in prisons again.

This is all due to conservative policies. They fail to understand mental illness and choose to think of these human beings as "takers," "lazy," people who refuse to work, in need of God, etc. The Reagan era was the beginning of the end of enlightenment. We have regressed terribly since then. This is one reason for why the prisons have swelled.

The privatizing of mental health was a failure. It is easier to make money off of convicts. So, our prisons will grow with the population and as long as money can be made, more people will end up in prison, whether they need it or not. As the article points out, the wealthy, who really do need it, will be excused.


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