Mental Illness, Then and Now

  • Jada Hector
  • David Khey


Mental illness impacts millions of people as well as their loved ones. It can take many forms; it can ebb and flow throughout the life course; it can be the root of a life of suffering; yet, in most cases, it does not have to be a life sentence of misery. The intersection of crime and mental health has been a long-standing issue spanning across many decades, even centuries. In more recent times, professionals in the United States have begun to detail the “cracks” within the criminal justice system with better precision, especially in relation to inmates with mental health concerns. Unfortunately, despite the recognition of these cracks and their potential “fixes,” the implementation of change continues to be a struggle. The federal system, state system, and local county/parish jail system each have their own obstacles to overcome. Furthermore, these systems do not always work together for the common cause of public health for various reasons. Even further, integrating the mental health system into the criminal justice system at these levels can at times seem impossible; yet, the capacity for coordinated change has never been more possible. This text serves to educate students and professionals not only on the system of interconnected cracks, but also on the recommendations and innovations set forth by different interests at varying levels of the said system. All of the answers may not have been discovered yet, but the impetus for change is on the horizon for those with mental illness in the criminal justice system. The hopes of change begin with discussion on the problems, particularly in a historical context. This text seeks to be that vehicle for change in the future to ensure the care and safety of justice-involved individuals with mental illness.


Dorothea Dix Moral treatment Deinstitutionalization Miracle drugs Psychiatric drugs Mental health hospital reform Public policy Mental health policy Stigma Co-occurring disorders 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jada Hector
    • 1
  • David Khey
    • 2
  1. 1.New OrleansUSA
  2. 2.University of LouisianaLafayetteUSA

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