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Letter to the editor: Provide options to incarceration for people living with mental illness

Posted By Alicia Hynes, Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Read Jenna's letter to the editor as it first appeared in the Portland Press Herald here.

Maine’s legal system puts too many people living with a mental illness in jail for nuisance crimes. The majority of sheriffs in Maine are strong advocates for more mental health services, and do not want individuals living with a mental illness in jail for misdemeanor crimes.

These arrests are often not cases where an officer could just give a summons to a person in an elevated state and leave them. Officers want other options to help; they want to be able to transport a person to support services.

 

Reforming the bail process could prove helpful, but we must demonstrate our shared belief that treatment changes lives by building a system that supports people with mental illness to have hope. This starts with investing in crisis mental health response services and diversion centers as options to incarceration.

—Jenna Mehnert

Tags:  crisis intervention  mental health  mental illness 

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