A New Federal Law's Impact on People With Mental Illness

Michael Friedman, an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of Social Work, along with Camille Alleyne, a recent graduate of the school, look at the "First Step Act" and what it means for incarcerated individuals.

August 12, 2019

School of Social Work Adjunct Associate Professor Michael Friedman and Camille Alleyne (MSW’19) estimate that up to 500,000 people with serious mental illness are in jails and prisons in the United States at any given time. While this is only a fraction of all people in the U.S. who suffer from serious mental illness, they point out that many of the mentally ill who become incarcerated do not receive appropriate treatment or support services, thereby exacerbating their condition. As a result, these individuals tend to face longer incarceration times than their counterparts without mental illness.

In a post on MedPageToday, Friedman and Alleyne examine the First Step Act, a recently signed federal law that has been widely heralded as a breakthrough in the battle for criminal justice reform. Click here to read the full story