Call Number
Material Type
Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 364.38 ROT Adult NonFiction Book
Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 364.38 ROT New NonFiction Book
Penn Yan Public Library 1 364.38 ROT New NonFiction Book

On Order



An urgent exposé 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 show 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.

Author Notes

Alisa Roth is a former staff reporter for Marketplace and frequent contributor to various NPR programs. A Soros Justice Fellow, her work has also appeared in the New York Review of Books and New York Times . She lives in New York.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Marketplace reporter Roth's cri de coeur uses moving anecdotes of how the American criminal justice system treats the mentally ill to make the problem palpable. Roth provides a deeply disturbing synthesis of her research, both academic and in the field, including conversations with professionals, and the mentally ill, to show how despite the increased understanding of mental illness over the last two centuries, and apart from the development of more effective medications, "we continue to treat people with mental illness almost exactly as we did before electricity was invented." In one of the more unsettling examples, a businessman and former firefighter with bipolar disorder was arrested for indecent exposure after he stripped naked in the hallway of a hotel when he was unable to open the door to his room. Later, when he turned violent, correction officers with no access to his medical records or understanding of the care he needed put him in solitary confinement. Roth proposes sound alternatives, such as San Antonio's investment in a 24/7 crisis center devoted to keeping people with mental illness "out of the criminal justice system and [getting them] into effective treatment." Roth strikes a powerful balance between big picture analysis and individual stories to make this searing account of America's misguided treatment of the mentally ill hard to ignore. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

As reported here by veteran journalist Roth, mental illness affects more than half of the inmates in U.S. prisons, and mass incarceration has aggravated the problem. As a result, correctional facilities have become mental health providers by default, exhibiting many of the poor conditions and abusive aspects of mental asylums of the past. Roth mines an impressive array of interviews, case studies, official records, research, and statistics to support this view. The book is organized around the process of criminalization. Initial chapters discuss how and why the mentally ill are easily drawn into the criminal justice system, including a history of U.S. mental health care. The following section evaluates how correctional facilities provide such care, concluding that failure is inevitable in a security-based, low-resource environment. Finally, the author details reasons for the revolving door that tends to pull mentally ill offenders back into the system. The work concludes with specific ideas for reform. As a broad national survey, it complements similar but more locally focused volumes such as Elizabeth Ford's Sometimes Amazing Things Happen. VERDICT Gritty and fact-filled, this passionate book will enlighten general readers about a vulnerable population in a dysfunctional justice system.--Antoinette Brinkman, formerly with Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Author's Notep. 13
Part I Ensnared: How We Got Here
1 Jail Is the Only Safe Placep. 21
2 The Largest Psych Ward in Americap. 39
3 The Asylum Fallacyp. 73
Part II Locked Up: What Happens Inside
4 Jail as Hospitalp. 97
5 Destined to Failp. 111
6 Sanctioned Torturep. 131
7 Better Off Deadp. 151
8 Guilty by Reason of Insanityp. 175
Part III Breaking Free: Toward a Better Way
9 Inside Outp. 195
10 The Cyclep. 209
11 Shooting the Victimp. 229
12 The Good-Cop Solutionp. 241
13 Disorder in the Courtp. 259
Conclusionp. 269
Epiloguep. 277
Acknowledgmentsp. 281
Notesp. 285
Indexp. 305

Google Preview

Select a list
Make this your default list.
The following items were successfully added.
    There was an error while adding the following items. Please try again.