Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness

Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness

Title:Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness
ISBN:9780465094196
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:320 pages

An urgent exposé of the mental health crisis in our courts, jails, and prisons


America has made mental illness a crime. Jails in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago each house more people with mental illnesses than any hospital. As many as half of all people in America's jails and prisons have a psychiatric disorder. One in four fatal police shootings involves a person with such disorders.


In this revelatory book, journalist Alisa Roth goes deep inside the criminal justice system to show how and why it has become a warehouse where inmates are denied proper treatment, abused, and punished in ways that make them sicker.


Through intimate stories of people in the system and those trying to fix it, Roth reveals the hidden forces behind this crisis and suggests how a fairer and more humane approach might look. Insane is a galvanizing wake-up call for criminal justice reformers and anyone concerned about the plight of our most vulnerable.


    Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness Reviews

  • Barbara

    4.5 stars As a 2014-2015 'Soros Justice Fellow', investigative journalist Alisa Roth spent a year studying the plight of mentally ill prisoners in the U.S. Criminal Justice System. Roth visited jails...

  • Jake

    Some sources say, upon his journey to the continent of north America the famous British writer, Charles Dickens, creator of Oliver twist, defender of humanity, had sworn to himself to see two things i...

  • Lmcelebre

    Roth does a great job of exposing some of the real inadequacies in our criminal justice system as they relate to mental health and I think her appraisal of the situation is fair and accurate. While I ...

  • John-andrew

    Whatever you think life is like behind bars, think again. Roth's intimate yet powerful look at how our prison system handles mentally ill inmates will take you through the pits of hell and back again....

  • Carrie

    An important topic presented in a well-researched manner. Our system definitely needs reform. Good to see some cities have started to implement new strategies, but we still have a long way to go....

  • Patricia Baker

    as someone who used to work in the medical field, I can say this author has it right. the treatment of those who are mentally ill should not be placed in a jail, but in a separate facility that can ov...

  • Kristen

    This was a hard, hard, HARD book to read, but I wish we were having more conversations about the topic. This was a really in-depth look at the prison system in America and how prisons treat and are so...

  • Wendi Lee

    While at times dry, this was an informative and sometimes wrenching book about how and why prisons across America have such large populations of mentally ill inmates. ...

  • O

    This book is horrifying, but such a necessary read. Another example of how "the greatest country in the world" can be extremely backward and evil in the way we treat certain groups of people....

  • Angela Blood

    This book got me thinking about our current policies and procedures regarding mentally ill criminals and it seemed very well-researched. There are some disturbing stories and many of the situations we...