Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System

Published October 24, 2017

Faculty fellow Christine Montross is currently at work on a new book that addresses mental illness in America’s prisons. In 2016, she published in The New England Journal of Medicine a perspective article that shed light on the mistreatment of the psychiatrically ill in the criminal justice system. Physicians, she writes, “are uniquely positioned to call attention to the circumstances that result in our patients being housed in places of punishment rather than places of healing.”

When psychiatrically ill people exhibit symptoms out of keeping with society’s norms, should they be taken to a place whose primary obligation is therapeutic or one whose primary obligation is security?

Read “Hard Time or Hospital Treatment? Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System” and listen to Christine Montross’s interview

Christine Montross is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Associate Professor of Medical Science at Brown University. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in Nonfiction, she is the author of Body of Work (2007) and Falling into Fire (2013).