Why Are We Using Prisons to Treat Mental Illness? • OverCriminalized • BRAVE NEW FILMS

What’s one of several police shootings involving
people with mental illness. 18-year-old, Keith Vidal, struggled with schizophrenia. He wasn’t
violent, and all they wanted was help getting him to treatment. Seconds later, the officers
shot and killed him. They murdered our son! For no reason! Another disturbing video that raises
questions about the treatment of the mentally ill behind bars. He would hear voices. The extraction team
restrained him. Minutes later, the 33-year-old was dead. Jails are the number one mental health facilities
across the country. They house more mentally-ill person than versus any hospital, any psych
facilities, any anything. They’re patients, not prisoners. Mental illness is the only disease that when
you’re in a crisis, the cops are called. You’re having a heart attack, you don’t call the
police. People with mental illness are being criminalized instead of being provided treatment. These county jails and law enforcement, that’s
the public safety net, that’s where you end up. There has to be some sort of solution, some
sort of help, for people who are suffering from mental illness and become involved with
the police. Jeff was the youngest of our four. He was
finally diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic. When he was totally out of control and very
frightening, I would have to call the police on him. They didn’t know what to do. I would get calls all the time when I was
on patrol for a person who was in a mental health crisis. I had no clue how to handle
it, and I would just keep getting the repeat calls every couple days or every week, to
the same house, the same person, and I just accepted it that, well, this person’s just
going to be a repeat caller. We decided very early on that we needed to
address folks that were non-violent misdemeanor offenders, that were truly being put in jail
because of their illness. We knew that it was law enforcement that were
first responders, and that they would be the ones that would be in contact with individuals
in crisis. So we decided what we would do first is train
law enforcement officers, 40-hour crisis intervention training. So they’re trained to recognize mental
illness. When they come on somebody that’s got kind
of strange behavior, they’re not using their command voice and the command presence like
they’re taught in the academy. They realize oh, right away, that this person has a problem.
We brought together a bunch of law enforcement officers from the sheriff and the San Antonio
Police Department, and every one of them didn’t want to be there. I heard things like, I’m
a cop, I’m not a social worker, I don’t believe in these hug-a-thug programs. And this is
a bunch of BS. Before I went through the 40-hour CIT training
myself, I didn’t have the resources on how to handle mental illness. Well now, its way
different, you know? I have confidence that when I go into someone’s home, if they are
experiencing some type of, you know, mental health crisis, that I can get them to the
right facility, and then I may never hear from them again. I’m a mother, I’m a sister, I’m a friend,
I’m a voter, I’m a volunteer, I’m all these people. I contribute to my community, and
I have a mental illness. My diagnosis is major depression with psychotic features, dissociative
identity disorder, and panic disorders. I’ve done the presentations to CIT training, and
I tell them, I want to be treated the way you want your mother to be treated if she
was ever diagnosed with a mental illness. If I’m in a crisis, you know, I’m having a
crisis, and I don’t, I don’t understand what’s going on around me. Get back! Get back! Get down! Don’t do it!
In incidents with people who have mental health issues, it’s unfortunate to see the ones that
result in the use of deadly force, where an officer didn’t have CIT training and, possibly,
armed with that kind of information, that kind of training, outcomes may have been different. I never knew each morning when I got up, what
I might find. He began to talk about a fire in the garage. So I thought, would he without
knowing what he’s doing, start a fire? How much danger is he in and how much danger am
I in? So I called the police and I said I’m terribly frightened. When they arrived, I introduced him to Jeff,
and in this case, they came in plain clothing. They weren’t in police uniforms. Now they
could have handcuffed him I guess and pulled him out, but they are taught how different that
person is they’re dealing with. So they began to talk to Jeff. If they can get the person
that’s ill to in their own mind, they’re cooperating, it’s far less violent, it’s better
for the patient, and certainly it’s better for our police. When non-violent people go to jail with mental
illness, they stay three or four times longer than a violent offender, but if when they
get released, if they’re not hooked up into treatment, they’re going to be right back
in. There is so many in their emergency rooms who shouldn’t be there. Previous police chief
here actually kept data on how long his officers were spending in the emergency rooms waiting
for psych evals and medical clearance, 8 to 14 hours. He spent 600,000 dollars a year
on overtime. Now here at the restoration center, law enforcement officers are in and out within
15 minutes. What we have here at, at the restoration center
is it services patients who are in crisis. It’s either walk-in or brought in here by
a CIT. They recognize the patients in crisis, they’re not truly suicidal or they don’t really
want to hurt somebody, they just need help. There about 18,000 people a year who are brought,
mainly by law enforcement officers, to this restoration center, who used to go to jail
or emergency rooms or put back on the street. If you’re a taxpayer and really don’t know
a lot about mental illness, the fact the public’s a lot safer when these people get treated,
and the taxpayer’s saves a ton of money. Over the last five years, we’ve saved about 50 million dollars, in taxpayer’s dollars. We want everyone trained because of the potential,
daily, that someone’s going to come across someone who’s in crisis. It’s not a matter
of if, it’s a matter of how soon? We’ve been coming up on six years, of existence,
and we don’t have a use of force on our, on our unit, which means we’ve never tased anybody,
we’ve never shot anybody, we’ve never hit anybody with an asp, but patients, talking
to them, we get the result we want in the end and we don’t have to force it on them. You want CIT to respond, because you’re going
to get the help that you need rather than being sent to jail. The issues that police officers have with
people who have mental illness is not unique to San Antonio, that’s all over the country,
all over the world. So any city that would decide to focus on this, put an emphasis on
this, would certainly benefit from it. I no longer thought, what if they have to
shoot Jeff? We save money, we improve public safety, and
people can get functional again. I mean, why wouldn’t you do this? It’s really a, a no-brainer.


  1. Its in the interest of the police and the courts to criminalise people , more money more court time,, more prison means more profit, so yeah arrest people for anything and stick them in prison for sitting on the floor, the copper gets a bonus on his arrest  tally the courts gets get a bonus for their time.

  2. ▶ Why Are We Using Prisons to Treat the Mentally Ill? • OverCriminalized #1 • BRAVE NEW FILMS
    http://youtu.be/zSbFbv2Bs_0   ~Pub Oct 9, 2014
    ▶ Connect @Peta_de_Aztlan

  3.  in 2014 calling the police has high odds  the police will kill you , or a family member or your dog .
    Cops overcompensate protecting themselves until they become totally incompetent at protecting the public

  4. Cops are being trained to be a police state . Police state's in history , were violent enemies of the people, who didn't solve problems , they were execution squads.

  5. This police response is not normal. Normally they shoot, or arrest the mentally ill. They even outlined that officers do not want to do the training. Most police will continue to just meet a mentally ill person with force.

  6. This video is good news. I cannot stand hearing law enforcement thugs using language like "hug a thug". Mental illness is not addressed properly and it is so sad to see them brutalized by military police tactics.

  7. Brave New Films should be on TV so the general public could see these stories. I will share publicly, Brave New Films always has something educational and inspirational or something that will shock you into action. Keep up the fantastic work!! 

  8. If we would stop supporting all the illegals spilling into this country, we could easily take care of the homeless problem in America! Who deserves this help more? The people living on the street who were once hard working, tax paying  people or someone who is here illegally?

  9. How we treat our homeless, elderly, handicapped and down-trodden is a disgrace. Most of the time we ignore the problem, but it hasn't gone away and only getting worse as the economy worsens. Something must be done. Maybe it is time for the churches (God's stewards ) to get the ball rolling in their communities and not wait for the government to help.
     After all, isn't that doing God's Work ??

  10. As someone with a mental illness myself, hearing about the story of police helping the mentally ill threw the CIT program is a huge relief. No one should be killed or put in jail because of their illness.

  11. In my community of Lower Paxton Township, a suburb of Harrisburg, PA, the police have learned how to handle those with mental illness.

  12. i will gladly support anything that will save the taxpayer time & money. don't me wrong that is not the only reason i support CIT, though. 

  13. What does it take to show people compassion is not evil its greed that makes people hearts cold toward humanity that's evil!

  14. I would be curious as to how seeking mental health help will affect these people down the road as Federal and State laws are now making people with any mental health treatment records into criminals??

  15. Obamacare mandates health insurance to cover mental health and substance abuse services. Republicans are going to repeal Obamacare. You can figure that one out. 

  16. It just makes sense. 
    The solution to chronic homelessness is to provide housing. 
    Brilliant isn't it?
    It is the right thing to do.

  17. https://www.facebook.com/groups/JusticeforKellyThomas/
     join the fight for mental health awareness. we need our officers to be highly trained in dealing with those who have mental illness. our system needs change and to help these people not murder them or toss them in jail. this is very close to home and it could very well be close to yours one day. 

  18. Housing 1st is the right approach. 

    Criminalisation of homelessness,  is a pathology that society suffers from.

  19. America the greatest country in the world….really I think you better think again….because it's NOT… It has repeated that lie for so….long even they believe it…when the things they do and see tell them that it's not the truth. How, so very sad that man fools himself.

  20. If I were a Cop to So Called Mentally Ill interventionalist, the first thing I'd do is ask the cops who work with me to not bring their guns, tasers, or weapons.  I'm uniquely qualified for this job I just now invented.  

  21. I understand the difference between the Command Voice and the Begging Voice.  Those labeled mentally ill can smell you better than you can.  They have noses like those of dogs.  

  22. Thank you for this video, it is exceptional!

    Years ago, I'd left a message for a therapist I hadn't seen in a while. Apparently because the pscyh dr left that clinic and I'd had to find one elsewhere, I was no longer considered a patient of that therapist either. Rather than returning my call, she sent police out to the house with suggestion I was suicidal. I was not. However, the police here in rural Wisconsin were exceptional. We discussed the misunderstanding. They asked to speak with my teenage son in private, and he-too-said they were excellent.

    Fortunately, I've taught him well to understand my own condition which is diagnosed and medicated as bipolar.  The meds are of issue to me now as well. Long term use has created many more problems for me.  Mental health care must be reformed.  Take action. I did.  I helped pass the Mental health parity act in 2006.  This helped me feel empowered even though it was too late to benefit me.

    My bills were sky high, but it was the right thing to do. I have a blog which includes easy to read notes about mental health issues, should anyone be concerned how to teach a child about a condition, how to deal with suicide, and so forth.  These are within my ARCHIVES, which I hope to tag as mental health soon.  https://awordfromapoetsdesk.wordpress.com/

  23. Thank you! Something that needs to be added to your program is the recognition of drug induced psychosis. The people who suffer from this are no different than any other person who suffers from psychosis due to a diagnosed mental illness. One particular drug that causes psychosis is methamphetamine. They call it meth-psychosis and the symptoms mimic schizophrenia.  This can also occur with other drugs in the amphetamine family as well as cocaine and PCP.  Most addicts seek the use of these drugs self medicate because of an existing mental illness.  They aren't criminals, they are unwell.  They deserve the same compassion. 

  24. The police in Anchorage, AK definitely treat people with mental illness, poorly. I came to learn I can ask for a specialized trained officer in mental health issues when confronted by hostile APD officers. They are few and far between. I believe police officers need much more training. That takes FUNDING!


  26. Kudos to the San Antonio P.D. & to Brave New Films for addressing this grossly misunderstood and overly-stigmatized "elephant in the living room" of American society.

    Mental illness is NOT a crime, and use of potentially lethal force is NOT the solution for people who are struggling with a terrible disease they never asked for.

    PLEASE share the message of this film widely. The life you save could be your own.

  27. I hope officers will volunteer and support this, I had a break down after a break up and a couple of officers went from trying to arrest me to life advice, hugging me while i cried and taking me 2 cities over to a nicer emergency facility.  They likely saved my life, and they couldv'e tased or shot me.  Humans are the only thing that can help humans.  

  28. The actual numbers of mentally ill prisoners in America are almost at 50%. Now this is good for privatized prison industries. It's money in their pockets. This needs to stop.It's inhumane treatment of a sick person. They often end up killed in jails, during arrest, and in prisons. Of course they cannot function normally and approp
    riately in these situations. I hope this goes nation wide and that people care enough to change this, a s a p! 

  29. I wish all police had this training and after the training actually found a way to care.  If one stops and thinks about it most people know when they come across someone who is in crises/mentally ill.  It is the complete lack of understanding, caring, and a great deal of time people like me are mad fun of by everybody including law enforcement.  Last year I had a friend who was delusional/in a state of crises.  He was found by police wondering out in the middle of nowhere.  My friend had two trucks so obviously he did not know what was going on.  Unfortunately, my friend was shot and killed because he did not respond to the orders that were being shouted at him. Having a mental illness is not a joke. If someone with any other chronic illness was having problems the police would not be called.  They would be taken to the hospital.  There would be no police codes and jokes about helping them.  No one gets teased, thrown in jail or shot for having cancer or diabetes.

  30. Thanks for your kind response. I'm glad there are folks like you and BPHope nowadays. I'm a fan of the CHW (Community Mental Health) movement, which recently reached East TX. Once again, San Antonio leads the way for CHW's in Texas. 

  31. What kind of imbecile needs "training" to recognize that someone who is not threatening anyone, doesn't need to be tazed or shot? The people in law enforcement positions acting with deadly force for NO legitimate reason, have mental illnesses.


    I'm in St.Paul Mn. (capitol), and "I pledge to get behind this, support it, and upon receiving necessary info from 'Brave New Films,' propagate it through necessary channels for the means of its implementation." 
    This is a Win/Win/Win, for good people needing/ good officers supported by/ good people….  
    (Reply with your City/County below).

    (Disclaimer- I am in no way affiliated with "Brave New Films," nor have I have been approached by them in any way for the above stated).
    Thank you for your time and consideration with this post!   

  33. I'm agnostic but I'll say it:  God bless you for doing this work.

    I have a long history of interest in this issue, have done volunteer work in it, and my mother had issues that were never treated and destroyed her life.  This makes me cry with joy that we are leaning this hard lesson.

  34. "Screenings Greetings!" BNF fans. Up and at 'em, show it and/or share it too, please!
    (psst: was considered the 'mental one' on my roost, too; but gratefully am sanely free.)   Thumbs up times a gazillion times, though, for all those ill and traumatized, stigmatized, & incarcerated souls profiting fascist corporate security outfits filling corporate quotas of jail cells with suspect court judges rulings of "kids for cash" (remember) sending myriad young folk to do time to enhance prison profits and 'grease his own palm,' as it were. That's what I found: "so says Google, so say we all." these 'daze.' I don't know; but I'd say "follow the money" to uncover corporate crimes needing redress when committed, yes?

  35. This is happening too, where I live in the UK! Where and what is happening to the social services? Very scary, when the lunatics are running the lunatics. Is this part of the "New World Order?!".

  36. C.I.T. is good – It can be enhanced or made better with the addition of Emotional CPR – an educational program designed to teach people to assist others through an emotional crisis (http://www.emotional-cpr.org) which should be required for anyone working with those who have received a mental health diagnosis – and not just law enforcement. But to solve the various problems that revolve around 'the mentally ill' the whole mental health system needs a complete over-haul.  We need to get away from the propaganda from the drug companies and the bureaucracies which owe their continued existence to the status quo of problems not being solved.  Recognize that trauma is a precursor to most 'mental illnesses – and utilize the proven non-drug treatments.  Somatic Experiencing  www.traumahealing.com – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) http://www.emdria.org, (standards) www.emdr.com (directory) – Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises  www.traumaprevention.com or www.TREcalifornia.com or The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process – Transcend Your Toughest Times by David Berceli, Ph.D. For more info on reducing and eliminating the problems associated with 'mental illness' see my new book Liberty & Mental Health – You Can't Have One Without the Other. http://bookstore.trafford.com/Products/SKU-000906908/Liberty–Mental-Health.aspx

  37.  I know how to stop the homeless laws pros a litigants from nearby states need to drive across the border to the nearest Sam's Club walk-in use a visitors pass or a Sam's Club card take a sample of food for free on video and then have a bystander arrest the person giving you the sample and do this to all of the Sam's clubs on the same day. Then the person who is from out-of-state because they do not own property in that state is being discriminated against by the state and therefore he or she can file suit against the state for this unjust law. Furthermore if feeding the homeless is unlawful lobbying is also unlawful both are charitable contributions all lobbyists and politicians need to be incarcerated under this ordinance. A good pro se litigant can use Supreme Court rulings to prove these laws were treason. title 18 US code section 2381 and 2383. Furthermore no one is obligated to obey an unjust law for is considered to be unjust from the moment of its conception not from the moment that charge someone with it. Sue your states and/or legislators for treason with groups of 10 or more people going to the courts and swear out citizens arrest warrants organize groups of people arrest these people under their own laws for treason because they are definitely not serving the people they are definitely not upholding the Constitution they definitely did swear an oath to the Constitution as their oath of office they have a contract with us and it is the Constitution and the first 10 amendments apply.

  38. That was 8 minutes of the sweetest, uplifting hope that has come in a very long time. An actual inspiring evolution where mentally ill people are treated with the care and respect that they deserve. Oh, let it spread far and wide!

  39. this needs to be everywhere but I sadly doubt it will happen, the stigma is still to strong.  this concept is like 300 years to late, so many have suffered already!

  40. i think all cops should be trained automatically for mental heath issues ,they are too militarised i think ,thanks 4 posting

  41. Police officer shot my nephew for no reason only because he was death and couldn't hear and they took him away

  42. What a concept…give these police officers some training… I would make it part of their collective bargaining agreement!


  44. The senselessly avoidable tragedy portrayed in the video linked below is yet another clear example of why people must encourage their legislators to implement programs like the one shown here, which obviously saves money for taxpayers, but more importantly saves the LIVES of people who struggle with mental illness through no fault of their own.


    People like this admittedly troubled young woman could easily be YOUR relative, friend or co-worker, and they walk among us every day in every city across America. There is real irony in the fact that the needless execution of this disturbed human being occurred a mere six hours up the road from the city of San Antonio. If one city in America can be this enlightened about treating the mentally ill with some compassion and understanding instead of brutality, why can't they ALL?


    The innocent life you save could easily be someone you care for, or maybe even your own.

  45. Reagan CONDEMNED (transferred) over 55 MILLION MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE (who were in hospitals) to ‘LIFE’ IN PRISON! The current Repugnican extremist wish to end the BOTH Affordable Care AND SSI … putting the REST in prisons. Sad how low our world has come since the more compassionate SSI system was established.

    Orwell was RIGHT, Big Brother (Big Corp) DID start in 1984 with the confirmation of the King of US Corporatocracy, Reagan. Strange how he STARTED to name his book 1980. I guess he knew it would be banned in the US if he did.

  46. Hi! Please visit my live mental health support chat room! www.wireclub.com/chat. Register for free! Click on DEB'S MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT ROOM. It is open 24/7 and is peer led. No-one needs to be alone in the mental illness pit of hell! Love Deb

  47. I would just like to say if someone has schizophrenia you go to the freaking hospital not the damn police.

  48. As a mentally ill person I know when I`m O.K that shit can change if I have a episode so I have left a tape to my parents not to blame themselves for calling the police, not all of us understand what mental illness is.

  49. As a person who was born and raised in San Antonio and someone who has dealt with cops multiple times it's always a very pleasant experience. I also love the fact that we have one of the most Diverse police dept in the Country as well. I love this City I think it's the most progressive city on a lot of issues especially when it comes to Social programs.

  50. You can thank the Reagan administration for dismantling services for the mentally ill in the US. This has been going on for years. Helen Whitney produced an ABC News Close-up documentary entitled "They Have Souls Too" in the late 80s specifically about people with mental illness incarcerated and more. Sadly the current system in the US is comprised of nothing but a greedy corrupt system of government that puts politicians personal interests and corporate interests above all else – this whole privitization of systems is an uncaring beast that consumes people like they are nothing but a commodity. War and killing overseas and the phony 'war on drugs' in the country itself is profitable but people aren't –https://www.nationalpriorities.org/cost-of/

  51. Want to help? Great cause to help people. We need donations. Whether a dollar, thousands,millions or billion dollars. Website www.chasingdreams.vpweb.com life can improve. Here to make a life better. There is hope. We are here to help. We can help change the world for the better. Love, truth, and progress. Let's make a difference. Want to make a difference?

  52. The biggest problem in all this is everything is corporatized, for profit, business. This creates a huge conflict of interest from the start. De-corporatize ALL OUR towns, cities, law enforcement agencies, jails, prisons, court systems etc. They are OURS and have been stolen for profit and are using the people as fodder to generate revenue.

  53. I call all people to rise up in these end days, for the sake of the elect! Moreover all that can be done is to go to WAR with this police state!! Who's with me?

  54. I'm canadian and i can only speak about what i have seen while in jail over here.When i was around 21 I was arrested and put in a jail called West detention in Toronto Canada the jail had male and females .I was in there for about 4-5 months. while walking up the stairs to the 4th floor for my lunch break I heard screaming and yelling ,laughing, crying. There was a door to another range as soon as you get to the floor i thought it was just a empty range and not used for some construction issues( the jail was falling apart) i never seen anyone in the common area watching tv or showering on the 30 plus times i passed that door. I found out it was for the women with mental issues the women were naked running around going to the bathroom right on the floor .some were rolling in it some were sexualy touching each other or themselves. they didnt want to get in their cells and the guards were in suits i never seen before.The guards were man-handling them to their cells. I never seen those women again out of their cells. maplehurst was a jail for just men but when they built the new addition they turned the old part to the new womens jail . when i was 34 i went there for 6 months , i was on every range they had for women so i thought where are the women with mental problems .i asked a guard they said protective custody. there was one range for P.C 3 pods are for new people or you cause trouble 1 pod for P.C i was in the pod right across from P.C not one woman was mentaly ill.mostly they were baby killers or disabled and used walkers ,wheelchairs , i mean there were a few 1 beer short a 6 pack. I told the guard to stop hiding the mentaly ill in the basement because those women were baby killers not mentaly ill.she said why do you care. i do not know where they house those women now but i bet they suffer more then anyone in these jails .The guards used in jails are not able to take care of these the jails never have enough guards and the guards are working on a clock time means everything to them and the inmates. so if the guards are running to the women with mental issues they will not be able to get anything done on time.so they lock them up in a cell alone with nothing that might harm them.IT JUST MALES THEM WORSE!

  55. Police Kill people with Mental Illnesses. They kill people who don't have weapons. They are pussies with badges.

  56. If you wish to become more informed about the psyche (mental illness, addictions, etc.), I highly recommend reading the materials of &/or listening to (via youtube), Dr. Gabor Maté.
    Elise aka Godgirl


  58. many cops abuse the mentally ill physically because they know the mentally ill are not able to speak up for themselves in a court of law and the system is set up so if u cant afford a lawyer the state will not pay for one so u will not get justice i my self was in this situation i called legal aid and they told me we only help u if charges are pressed on u not if u r pressign charges on some one

  59. its scary when u have mentall illness because in the past my mentall illness makes u do stuff against your will and u cant think it threw and u cant stop your self which can cause u severe harm or put u in jail its causes alot of anger in a person with mentall illness because u r not in control of your self especially if u have impulse control disorder its a nightmare

  60. The problem is that the places mentally I'll people are taken hurt them. They're safe from suicide until next time they need help. Then they remember how bad they were treated at the hospital. And they die

  61. I've been at CIT. The officers don't like it. They don't even use what they learn . Then psychiatry gives pills that also make illnesses chronic. Read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker

  62. Mental Illness is from trauma and isolation. Police are also mentally I'll with anger issues, alcohol, divorce… Because society has started glorifying immorality in music film etc. Almost everyone suffers from extreme sadness. Suicide is the normal way to die. By normal I mean commonly chosen . Second leading cause of death . Family is the key to restoring us to sanity not more and more made up disorders and psychoactive substances with unbearable side effects. People are getting worse …proof of quackery practiced currently

  63. geo guards abuse and let the inmates abuses a person with mental problems

  64. They are not being used to " treat " mental illness duh,, they are used to "create" mental illness…..😔for example…you get accused of something you didn't do,,then you get brutally beaten by law enforcement, then you wind up on meds……..then the medications fuck you up…then you are released back into the streets again for more abuse to go insane.😶see how that works…

  65. Please donate to my son as he fights his charges.


  66. Because the For-Profit Counseling Industry Lobbied the Govt. to not open up all the CHMC and Group Homes that were in JKF's Community Mental Health Act, Qualified Immunity for cops so Negligent Manslaughter is never prosecuted, Jail and Prison is Mandatory Spending for obvious reasons.

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