Philly eyes mental health treatment as a tool to fight recidivism

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Philadelphia City Council is looking into how better mental health treatment could help newly-released inmates from going back to jail. 

Experts repeatedly testified many people with mental illness don’t have treatment options while incarcerated. Ray Ziegler spent time behind bars and is now a counselor.  He says good treatment options need to be ready the day someone is released.

“They get out of prison and they want to get out of that gate running.  They want to give themselves a chance man of them but soon the first hurdle they hit BOOM, they bounce back into a life of crime,” Ziegler said.

Councilman Dennis O’Brien says this could cut recidivism.

“Two and a half million people are incarcerated, 95 percent are released within 12 months,” he said. “Two-thirds of them are re-arrested within two years.”

O’Brien says the hearing is the first step in formulating a real response plan.

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