Mental Health Behind Bars
Too often, people living with a mental health condition don’t get the help they need and end up in jail. There, they go from being potential psychiatric patients to being inmates — expected to comply with orders or face consequences, even when their conditions make this difficult or impossible. WITF is exposing conditions at jails and prisons in Pennsylvania, showing how people who need help are often hurt instead. And WITF is looking for solutions — highlighting areas where law enforcement and mental health professionals are trying humane alternatives.
Jails fail to accommodate people with mental illness. In some cases, it’s a civil rights violation.
Conditions in some corrections facilities are a a moral failure that also costs taxpayers millions.
Pennsylvania lawmakers weigh in on need for reforms after investigation into county jails and mental health
Prison oversight boards and funding for jails are among the ideas presented.
In Pa. county jails, people with mental illness are routinely met with pepper spray and stun guns
A WITF investigation finds that Pennsylvania county corrections officers use physical force on people who may be unable to comply with orders due to a mental health condition.
Pennsylvania mental health advocates hopeful for funding increase
Pa. Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal gets warm welcome from mental health leaders
By Katie Knol
Josh Shapiro hears from area students about increased need for school mental health support
Family demands change at Luzerne County prison after daughter’s death
By Tom Riese/WVIA News
Pa. Sen. John Fetterman leaves Walter Reed with depression ‘in remission’
Pa. Sen. John Fetterman expected back ‘soon,’ but no certain timeline yet
How some police, attorneys, and jails are trying to help Pa.’s ailing system for mentally ill peopleWithout a statewide solution, some local officials are finding ways to prevent people unfit to stand trial from getting trapped in the criminal justice system.
Pennsylvania prisons’ union pushes for increased staffing, as incidents go up
Pennsylvania counties see potential mental health funding boost as a “down payment”Advocates and service providers fear a proposed $20 million funding increase for community mental health services would not go far enough.
By Sam Dunklau
Determining if someone is mentally fit for trial in Pa. often traps them in the place making them worse — jailA Spotlight PA/PINJ investigation found few state hospital beds for those with severe mental illness, ill-equipped jails, and a system so broken some defense attorneys avoid it entirely.
By Danielle Ohl of Spotlight PA and Brittany Hailer of the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism