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Thoughts on mental health reform in Michigan prisons

At this time of year, crimes are not commonly a newsworthy topic, especially if it does not deal with drunk driving or overzealous New Year’s reveling. But it should, especially when prison reform is one of the most complicated topics legislators and law enforcement must deal with.

According to, prison reform, especially with regard to treatment of mental illness has become incredibly important in Michigan. It is estimated that far more people suffering from mental health problems are incarcerated rather than treated in hospitals. Of those who are imprisoned, less than half receive the treatment they need.

This is particularly troubling considering that mental illness likely led to the charges against them. Indeed, part of this may be due to the lack of funds allocated toward such treatment. It can be argued that there is an inherent public bias against criminal offenders and prisons in general, that the people housed in prisons deserve to be there, and they found their way there only through their own actions.

But when you consider the choices they had, or lack therof, it is reasonable to consider that there are forces working against them that they may be powerless against unless they have experienced advocates working on their behalf.

So while the odds may be stacked against a defendant suffering from mental illness in the criminal justice system, an experienced attorney can level the playing field to a certain extent. A skilled lawyer can marshall the resources to show how treatment would be a benefit to the accused and to society as a whole.

If you have questions about how a criminal defense attorney can help, please feel free to contact us.

The preceding is not legal advice. 

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