Interview by Sarah Coleman*
October 3-9, 2021 was Mental Health Awareness Week. The United States’ prison and criminal justice systems are deeply interconnected with mental healthcare and mental illness. For many individuals, a mental illness diagnosis and subsequent treatment aren’t made available to them until after they come in contact with the criminal justice system. JLI Staff Member Sarah Coleman had the opportunity to speak with Kelly Mitchell, Executive Director of the Robina Institute, and Minnesota Law Professor JaneAnne Murray on how individuals, communities, and the legal system are impacted by the way the criminal justice and prison systems have become surrogates for a more robust mental healthcare system.
The following resources were consulted in preparation for this interview, and can be consulted for further information:
- 800,000 individuals with mental illnesses under correctional supervision
- Santa Barbara’s Co-Response Teams
- Percent of inmates with serious mental illness compared to general population
- Eugene, Oregon’s CAHOOTS Program
*Sarah Coleman, Class of 2023, Minnesota Journal of Law & Inequality Vol. 40 Staff Member