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Alisa Roth on the criminalization of mental illness

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Author and reporter Alisa Roth
Alisa Roth, author of "Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness" and MPR News reporter on mental health.
Courtesy of Matthew Septimus | Cover art courtesy of Basic Books

MPR's mental health reporter Alisa Roth gives the keynote address at a Hamline University conference on the "Criminalization of Mental Illness."

Roth told the audience there is a mental health crisis in our courts, jails and prisons.

She is the author of a new book based on her research, "Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness."

"We make mental illness into a crime," Roth said. "Our criminal justice system has also become our de facto mental health care system."

She concludes that we need to change the whole system.

In her keynote address on April 26, 2019, Roth explored the centuries old history of this crisis, gave examples from her reporting in other states and countries and offered insights for possible solutions. 

After her keynote address, she answered audience questions presented by Jillian Peterson, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University. 

The broadcast is part of APM's "Call to Mind" initiative, and is presented for National Mental Health Awareness Month in May.