There will be some major changes regarding criminal justice in the future. It seems that the officials are focusing on prison reform and the first step is taking into consideration the mental health issues. In the United States, the overcrowded prisons are a huge problem. While trying to find a solution, the officials discovered that many people with mental issues were considered criminals.
There would be two major changes. The first one, named State Question 780, would reclassify some crimes. Instead of considering them felonies, they will be changed to misdemeanors. This way the population in the prison will be reduces. The other one, called State Question 781, would allow the officials to use the money saved from the fewer inmates for treatment programs.
Even though this plan can work, it will be a long journey before we will see something changed. This is why is important for the prison reform to start as soon as possible. The health officials explained that they are not trying to make some people get away without paying for their actions. They just want to make a difference between those who are mentally ill and those who were aware of their actions.
Another problem that the National Alliance on Mental Illness is trying to solve is to train more police officers for special situations. At the moment, only 1 000 of them are trained to handle a crisis situation. The system needs more people like them. Moreover, the officials are also looking for places where people with mental diseases will be treated. There is a difference between someone who commits a felony on purpose and someone who does not even realize what he/she is doing. Police officers have to be able to make the difference. Most of the times, they think that the person they caught is on drugs, without taking into consideration other options.
The United States is not the only country where a prison reform has to be done. According to a study, more than 100 countries have issues because they exceed official prison capacity. This makes it more difficult for the system to make sure the inmates receive the basic human needs. They have less food and are more exposed to diseases. Moreover, overcrowding is also a main factor for mental diseases. People do not have privacy, they become aggressive and this leads to many issues. A prison reform is necessary.
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