Treatment of Mental Illness Lowers Arrest Rates, Saves Money


The article in Science Daily  says that by taking your medication and being an outpatient that you do not get into as much trouble as someone who does not take their medication. “The study shows that providing mental health care is not only in the best interest of people with mental illness, but in the best interests of society,” says Dr. Sarah Desmarais, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.

It is a win-win situation for everyone.  I know I do not want to go back to jail.  I am happy I do take my medication and it helps me live a very successful life.  My life before I went to the state hospital was a mess no matter what I did to not end back in prison. I would be back in for something stupid because of drinking.

The article goes on to say:  “The researchers identified 4,056 people who had been hospitalized for mental illness in 2004 or 2005 and then tracked them from 2005 to 2012.  The researchers were able to determine which individuals were receiving government subsidized medication and which were receiving government subsidized outpatient services, such as therapy.  The researchers were also able to determine who was arrested during the seven-year study period.”

In seven years, a lot of changes could happen.  One of them is you would not want to do time. It changes a person.  It is also hard to get away from once you do time.

That is why I once won my appeal on my last case. I made a deal: no parole, no nothing, just leave me alone and I will plead guilty.  It is hard when you’re leading that kind of lifestyle to finish parole or probation.  My conditional release from the state hospital was even harder.  I had UA’s every week and I had to have the money for them for five years. I did not drink but it still was a pain.  Although I was sober when I did it, I had already made a decision to change my life.  It was hard although it was easier when I was able to have my daughter and grandkids. I was on it for five years that is longer than parole or probation.

“Our research shows that people receiving medication were significantly less likely to be arrested. Desmarais says.  Outpatient services also resulted in decreased likelihood of arrest.”  When you are not impaired you can make decisions that are right.

I know the second question is does it save money? “The researchers also compared criminal justice costs with mental health treatment costs. Individuals who were arrested received less treatment and each cost the government approximately $95,000 during the study period.  Individuals who were not arrested received more treatment and each cost the government approximately $68,000 during the study period.  It costs about $10.00 less per day to provide treatment and prevent crime.  That’s a good investment, Desmarais says.”

It saves money and it provides people with a mental illness to remain free.  To me that is the best word freedom.  I did a decade behind being locked up and I missed a lot that happens, like birthdays with my daughter and Christmases.