Radio Times

Mentally ill inmates overwhelm PA jails

April 11, 2017

Across the country, there’s an increase in the number of people with serious mental illnesses who are behind bars making prisons and jails modern day mental institutions. In Philadelphia, 40 percent of inmates are taking psychotropic medications. The state Department of Corrections announced a plan to introduce the “Stepping Up Initiative”—a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses who are incarcerated. In this hour, Marty talks with FRED OSHER, director of health systems and services policy at the Council of State Governments Justice Center about Stepping Up and its objectives. JOHN WETZEL, Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections, joins the discussion to address the potential impact of this plan on PA state prisons. BRUCE HERDMAN, chief medical director for the Philadelphia Department of Prisons, discusses the care needed for these inmates.

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