Mental health, substance abuse issues common among arrestees

Mental health, substance abuse issues common among arrestees

HONOLULU (AP) - Authorities say half of the people arrested in Honolulu have a mental illness or substance abuse issues, despite efforts to get such people treatment rather than send them to jail.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the percentage of psychologically troubled arrestees has doubled since 2010, according to information compiled by nurses who work in the downtown cellblock.

Honolulu Police Department psychologist Michael Christopher says police have made progress at steering such people toward hospitals or other care, but still arrest two people for every one person sent elsewhere.

The spike in the number of mentally ill people behind bars coincides with cuts to mental health care services and a growing Honolulu homeless population.

Four out of 10 detainees at the downtown jail have no permanent home.

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