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Decriminalize Mental Illness in Three Easy Steps! Support H.R.619

Health & Wellness  (tags: Mental health, assistancetotheincarceratedmentallyill, H.R.619, MentalHospitals, Prison Nation, solitaryconfinement, MentalIllness, wrongfuldeathoflarryneal, TimSouders, SeanLevert, PrisonCosts, AvoidableTragedies )

- 2966 days ago -
Mentally challenged people deserve hospital coverage, too! Help to decriminalize mental illness in three easy steps to support congressional bill H.R.619, which will re-open hospitals to replace prison for sick people. Roughly 1.25 million are jailed!

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Mary N (183)
Tuesday April 13, 2010, 12:12 pm
One hundred percent of the police officers I polled agreed that jail is not the place for acute mental patients, but that is where they go during a health crisis because America's psychiatric hospitals are steadily closing. This has been happening since Medicaid was removed as a source for mental hospital coverage decades ago.

Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX) introduced H.R.619 in January 2009 to amend Title XIX of the Social Security Act to remove the exemption for covering psychiatric inpatients. Now we have an opportunity to put things right again! Stop more sick people from joining the 1.25 million who are already imprisoned. Treat mental illness medically, not legally!

Simply follow the link to complete three easy steps to help decriminalize mental illness.

America's prison costs are now $50 billion annually, and as much as $185 billion per year when you factor in police services, court costs, and attorneys for indigent people. Mentally ill people are apt to making false confessions and are usually unable to contribute to their own defense at trial. They often sign plea deals for longer sentences than other inmates.

Police officers and prison guards are not psychiatrists. Many times, mentally ill people are punished for displays of their illness. Some are killed during arrests and behind bars. STOP the discrimination against 1 in 5 Americans who have mental health conditions that need treatment, not punishment.

WHY is mainstream media NOT making news reports about H.R.619, the congressional bill that could:

1. restore hundreds of thousands of mentally challenged Americans to a wholesome existence

2. prevent avoidable tragedies by making mental hospitals available

3. reduce prison costs and free billions for education and jobs programs


A. Make ten phone calls to religious, civic, and veteran organizations and let them know about congressional bill H.R.619

B. Write a letter of support for H.R.619. Ask that your group hosts at Care2 write a letter of support for the group. Ask that your pastor or civic group leaders also draft a letter of support for H.R.619. Post them online so that more people will know we have the opportunity to DECRIMINALIZE MENTAL ILLNESS.

C. VOTE for H.R.619 at

Most congressional bills never get out of committees and onto the floor of the House for a vote. We need to know BEFORE the upcoming elections which of our candidates for re-election support human rights.

Visit the site for a link to a letter of support for H.R.619 by the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). Use it for an example!

Visit the site for a link to VOTE for H.R.619. Show elected officials the bill has your support!

Visit Assistance to the Mentally Ill (AIMI), a Care2 human/civil rights group for more information on H.R.619. Meet some of the families that are negatively impacted by criminalizing mental illness. Read about some of the tragedies that resulted by leaving people without treatment until AFTER an avoidable crime or suicide happened.

Thanks for your help getting H.R.619 before Congress for a vote!


Mary Neal
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
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