On any given day 385,000 persons with mental illness are in jails in the United States. Some of them may be incarcerated for few days or weeks other for a few years. While in jail they be treated after they are released most receive no follow-up. Another, 38,000 reside in state mental facilities with a majority of these forensic commitments. For example, the three largest mental hospitals by bed capacity in the United States are the Los Angeles County Jail, the Cook County Jail (Chicago) and Riker’s Island (New York City).
A significant subset of people with severe untreated mental illness are walking around. Rather than finding a solution to this problem, we continue to hear that it’s time to ban guns or shut down the National Rifle Association. Those are patently absurd solutions to the problem.
What one can deduce is that there are hundreds of thousands of people who are walking around that are severally mentally ill many find their way frequently in and out jails. Their symptoms are not controlled by medication or they just do not take it or have access to medications and/or they abuse drugs and alcohol.