PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — State Representative Margo Davidson is addressing what she says is a public health crisis surrounding mental health and mass incarceration.
Davidson led a public hearing in Yeadon, Delaware County on Monday, calling out the problems and inhumanities surrounding what she fears over time have become a growing intersection of mental illness and the criminal system.
“Prisons would become the mental health hospitals of the day,” she said, “and we are in that day right now. ”
Davidson says mental illness is a brain disease and shouldn’t be criminalized.
“We know that many people in our commonwealth and across the country are suffering from mental health illness, which I prefer to call brain disease.”
Susan Rogers, a mental health advocate, implores people not to give up on the mentally ill by throwing them into a broken system. She says there is hope, and it’s something she knows about first-hand.
“I have lived with a mental health condition both voluntary and involuntary,” she said. “I have been in recovery for years and I know recovery is possible for everyone.”