Incarcerated with Mental Illness

illustration of a person in jail
Incarcerated with Mental Illness
Rachel Sender for Call to Mind

Nearly half of incarcerated Americans have a history of mental illness — that’s twice the prevalence of mental illness in the adult population of the United States. People with serious mental illnesses encounter law enforcement and the court system for many reasons. 

This program brings together stories of people who have lived with mental illness while incarcerated.

We also meet mental health providers calling for increased mental health care in prisons and jails, and legal experts pioneering new systems. 

Join Call to Mind host Kimberly Adams for Incarcerated with Mental Illness, a one-hour broadcast special.

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Useful resources

Canopy Roots
A Black-owned Twin Cities based mental health organization offering unarmed first responder services to people in crisis via 911.  

Camden Coalition  
This foundation’s goal is to improve the health and well-being of people with complex needs by supporting and advancing equitable resources. 

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 
This grassroots organization provides information, resources, and support to people experiencing mental illness. This page includes information about the criminalization of people with mental illness. 

National Commission on Correctional Health Care  
This organization focuses on improving the quality of health care in jails, prisons, and juvenile confinement facilities. 

Miami Center for Mental Health and Recovery 
A center that provides comprehensive care for those experiencing serious mental illnesses (SMI) or co-occurring SMI and substance use disorders. 

Miami-Dade Criminal Mental Health Project 
A jail diversion program based in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court for defendants with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders.  

MindSite News 
This nonprofit digital journalism organization reports on mental health in America exposing policy failures and ways to improve them. 

1 Million Madly Motivated Moms, Inc. 
A public safety and mental health organization working to end police violence in the United States through the reduction of harm in the Black community using solutions exhibited by Black maternal figures.   

People Incorporated 
This nonprofit is Minnesota’s largest community based mental health provider. They offer residential crisis stabilization, treatment services, case management, outpatient mental health services, community outreach and more.  

Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative 
An Atlanta based foundation, they work as a diversion program for people encountering substance use, mental health challenges, or survival activities that could be disruptive leading to arrests or jailing. Their work is based in harm-reduction and housing first.  

Prison Policy Initiative 
A nonprofit and non-partisan organization doing cutting edge research exposing the harm of mass criminalization and advocacy campaigns to form a more just society. 

Treatment Advocacy Center     
This center pushes for reform of how people with severe mental illness are supported through research, advocacy, and treatment programs.