Society is combating the detrimental effects of the deinstitutionalization policy, which transferred the treatment of mentally ill patients from state-run psychiatric hospitals to community-run psychiatric facilities. These patients frequently fall into relapses and are more likely to experience risky encounters with law enforcement officials who have no formal training in dealing with them. The paper analyzes the criminalization of mentally ill people, many with substance abuse and alcohol addictions, receiving treatment in jails and state prisons. Incarcerating people with mental illness, though reducing the homeless population from the street and disturbances faced by the public, still does not address the underlying problem. The consequences and challenges of the deinstitutionalization policy have directly impacted law enforcement and the mentally ill and homeless population. Implementing a national database with law enforcement medical agencies can be life-changing for those impacted by this predicament and gathering gather consistent and thorough health reports on the released incarcerated population within the community while accessing other vital needs such as housing, food, and employment can help avoid remission and homelessness.


The online version of this article has been revised and is different from its printed version. The pagination for this article is now pp. 71-105; in the original, it was pp. 71-102.