Criminal Justice

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than half of those in the criminal justice system suffer from a mental illness.

With the funneling out of mental health institutions in the late 20th century in the United States, law enforcement and correctional facilities have inadvertently become the largest providers of mental health-related services. In 1955, there was one psychiatric bed for every 300 Americans; in 2005, there was one psychiatric bed for every 3,000 people. Today, the nation’s largest mental health warehouses are the jails in major metropolitan areas, not hospitals, producing more persons with mental illness in jails than in mental health institutions

Click on a tab below to read more about the aspects of this issue:

Mental Illness in the Justice System

Law Enforcement

Mental Health Needs in Jails and Prisons

APA Action


APA's Public Comments and Letters

Letter | APR 20

APA Spearheads Justice Community Letter Urging Congress to Support Medicaid ReEntry and Crisis Interventions Funding During COVID-19

One-pager | DEC 3, 2019

Summary: Criminal Justice Behavioral Health Workgroup Policy Playbook 2019

APA CEO Blog | DEC 3, 2019

APA and Coalition Outline Policy Reforms to Improve Mental Health Care in Criminal Justice System

Letter | DEC 2, 2019

APA Comments on ONDCP's Drug Court Efforts

Policy Recommendations | NOV 14, 2019

APA joins criminal justice behavioral health workgroup policy playbook 2019

Letter | JUN 27, 2019

CSOO Letter in Support of Community Re-entry through Addiction Treatment (CREATE) Opportunities Act

Letter | MAY 1, 2019

Mental Health Liaison Group Letter Supporting the Medicaid Reentry Act

Letter | NOV 2, 2017

APA Letter of Support for Representative Tonko's Medicaid Re-Entry Act