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Insane

America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An urgent expose 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 tell 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.

©2018 Alisa Roth (P)2018 Tantor

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Phenomenal Expose

Loved the fact this author pulled no punches about how the mentally I'll are treated. Also loved the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great required reading

This book was easy to keep listening to because of the interesting and almost unbelievable stories suffered by those who are locked up, and very difficult to listen to for the same reasons.


This is required reading for a Master of Social Work class related to intersections of mental health, trauma and addiction. It's easy to see how people would turn to substance use to get over the horrors and trauma experienced by those misunderstood and locked up- if they survive solitary confident with their lives or their eyeballs.

We see this in the real world all the time. Law enforcement is there to stop criminals, not babysit sick people. They frequently don't understand confused or unstable mental health problems and treat people as being resistant. Also, there are those who try to pull the wool over the eyes and fake mental illness. After this book the experienced professional will have a far better understanding of what's real, but it will take a lot more to fully understand. More books could be written on the topic and far more investigation done on the topic.

This book clearly helps us understand what a colossal failure the criminal justice system is for those with mental health problems. Conditions are so bad and restrictions so tight that professional volunteers can't even try to help. There needs to be education for law enforcement, corrections officers, and a complete change in laws protecting people from themselves and the system.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful