One source of unrest in modern society is the traditional criminal justice approach towards mental health issues, made evident by public protests and media highlights of police brutality. While public perceptions of mental health issues evolve, law enforcement interactions show failures to implement nuanced avenues to protect people undergoing crises. This paper examines the relationship between law enforcement and public health issues to develop more efficient avenues than those currently in place. All involved parties experience negative consequences when police departments bear the responsibility for addressing public health issues. Lack of police training in mental health disturbances and scarcity of alternative resources leave those suffering from underlying issues in the jail and prison systems without support. Legislation targeting drug-related crimes harms individuals suffering with addiction that would benefit from recovery support systems. Mentally ill and homeless individuals witness these downfalls as well. Law enforcement currently plays a vital role in these discrepancies and requires change. The potential trauma inflicted by police encounters can benefit from implementing mental health positions within police departments. Possible alternatives for police to steer people away from the criminal justice system include diversion programs and supportive housing initiatives.
"Policing and Mental Health: The Current Criminal Justice Approach to a Public Health Issue,"
Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science: Vol. 9
, Article 4.