Despite a 60% drop in crime rate, the number of United States citizens entering prison has increased by more than one million since the 1980s. Though several factors contribute to this–including the 1970s “War on Drugs,” which led to drug users being sentenced to time in prison rather than in rehabilitation centers–the elimination of major state hospitals, due to a decrease in governmental aid, have directly led to higher incarceration levels.
More than 50% of United States inmates have mental health issues. While enrollment in mental health facilities would be the effective option for these “criminals,” individuals in need of clinical services are instead sent to prison. If the government were to reopen state mental hospitals, the high population of those incarcerated, as well as the rate of recidivism, would certainly drop, as those convicted of crimes would receive the help they truly needed.
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