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Conference To Discuss Jail Alternatives For People With Mental Illness

Every year, an estimated 2 million people with mental illness are incarcerated in the United States. Almost three-quarters of them are also battling substance-abuse issues.

It’s a problem that many advocates say is a result of the dysfunctional mental health-care system in our country.

Starting today in Tucson, hundreds of people who encounter this issue on a daily basis — judges, attorneys, law-enforcement officers, social-service providers and government leaders will gather to discuss jail alternatives for people with mental illness.  

And, for more on that, I’m joined now by Ellen Wheeler, assistant county administrator with Pima County, who’s organizing this “Decriminalizing Mental Illness” conference.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.