The Criminalization Of Mental Illness (VIDEO)

11/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

In a new report, Al Jazeera English takes a look at just why people with mental health problems make up half the population of U.S. jails and prisons.

Here's the gist of it: After asylums were shuttered during a de-institutionalization movement that took off in the 1960s, the mentally ill largely have had nowhere else to go except the street, and from there many inevitably wind up in the criminal justice system.

Al Jazeera English traveled the country and followed specially-trained police, talked to mentally ill inmates, and advocates for reform to put together a powerful mini-documentary.

"These are the dark ages for people who are severely mentally ill," said E. Fuller Torrey, executive director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute.

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