The Largest Mental Institution in the United States.

14 08 2008

NPR has spoken to inmates and employees of the Los Angeles county jail about the fact that one of the two “twin towers” (both are built on the idea of Jeremy Bentham’s idea of the panopticon) is occupied by the mentally ill. The Los Angeles County Sheriff is dedicated to giving prisoners the care they need, but he wishes that the closing of insane asylums in the late 70s (often horribly maintained and run) had not meant turning many of the mentally ill into homeless persons. The gap created by the closing of these public hospitals has yet to be filled, and in the interim, our prisons and streets continue to be populated by people who could be functioning members of society if they were getting the support they needed.