March 1, 2021
The News & Observer
Ponder these facts. During 2018, North Carolina prisons housed more than 36,578 inmates. That’s a population equal to the 25th largest municipality in our state. About 17%, or approximately 6,200 of our prison population, suffer from mental illness. Also consider that at any given time, up to 24,000 inmates are held in North Carolina’s local jails. If you apply the same multiplier to this population, that is another 4,250 mentally ill persons incarcerated. From these statistics, there are approximately 10,500 incarcerated, mentally ill inmates in our prisons and jails combined.
Shamefully, we have allowed our prisons and jails to be a depository for our most vulnerable citizens. Even though such inmates do receive some form of treatment or therapy during incarceration, most, if not all, of our prisons and jails are not equipped with the personnel, training or facilities to provide them with the treatment or therapy they need.
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