Call to Address Prisoner Mental Illness

TORONTO, June 4 (UPI) — Prevention programs are needed in Canada to help address mental illness problems before some people get in trouble with the law, an editorial suggests.

Dr. Stephen Hucker of the University of Toronto says correctional facilities worldwide contain a higher percentage of people with mental illness than the general population.

Hucker, Dr. Paul Hebert, editor in chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and Dr. Noni MacDonald, deputy editor, have written an editorial for the journal calling for training of correctional staff and treatment programs for mentally ill inmates.

The three doctors say accurate data on the prevalence and consequences of mental health problems could help troubled people.

“Having people with treatable mental health disorders fall into the criminal justice system serves neither society nor the individual,” the three said in a statement. “That so many inmates in jails and prisons have mental health disorders — often untreated — is an indictment of society’s values and understanding of mental health disorders.”

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