1.2 million individuals living with mental illness sit in jail and prison each year.
Often their involvement with the criminal justice system begins with low-level offenses like jaywalking, disorderly conduct, or trespassing.
In 2015, The Sentencing Project ranked the states based on the number of people incarcerated in state prison per 100,000 residents.2 Comparing state-by-state rates of incarceration with the access to mental health care ranking shows a strong positive correlation between rates of adult who are in the criminal justice system and lack of access to mental health care (r =.69, p=000).
The states with less access to mental health care have more adults who are in the criminal justice system.
Six out of 10 of the states with the least access to mental health care also have the highest rates of incarceration.
These states include:
- The chart below shows the ranking of states based on the rate of adult incarceration (per 100,000 people). The access to care ranking is the corresponding sum of scores for each state. The ten states with the least amount of access to care are highlighted in red, and the 10 states with the most access to care are highlighted in purple.