Renk on Mental Health and Michigan
Last year the Speaker of Michigan’s House of Representatives announced he was looking to tackling an overhaul of Michigan’s mental health system. He recently made his first step towards addressing this problem in Michigan.
According to The Detroit News the Speaker announced yesterday the creation of a new bipartisan mental health task force. This task force will meet this month and next month to start the process of gathering information. They will meet with mental health experts and people in the field of rehabilitation programs and job training.
State Representative Klint Kesto of Commerce Township, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee was quoted in the article stating:
Holding meetings and visiting facilities all across Michigan will allow us to gather feedback on a wide variety of topics related to mental health care, rehabilitation programs and vocational training. I’m looking forward to learning about programs that are successful and, perhaps more importantly, the programs that aren’t so successful so we can work on fixing the problems.
Did you know that, according to Michigan’s Department of Corrections, there are approximately 41,000 prisoners in Michigan and approximately 23% of them are classified as mentally ill? Also, about 64% of county jail inmates are classified as mentally ill.
So you can see that this mental health issue is very important to Michigan and certainly our prison system.
Did you know that it cost Michigan taxpayers an annual average of approximately $95,000 a year to incarcerate mentally ill prisoners as compared to $35,000 for a non-mentally ill prisoner.
Hopefully this task force can effectively address this issue and improve on Michigan’s ability to deal with the mental health issued that are facing Michigander’s today.