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About Unsound Premise:

Unsound Premise is a blog dedicated to examining issues in mental health law, particularly in the jurisdiction of Arizona. Arizona is the jurisdiction of choice because that is where I am attending law school, and I would like to find a job when I graduate.

The juxtaposition between mental health and the law will be examined in several ways in this blog: both civil and criminal legal issues, stories highlighted from the news, and books reviewed about mental illness.

An unsound premise simply is a faulty basis for an argument. The goal for this blog is to start a conversation about mental health and the law. Hopefully, through discourse not only strong premises, but better conclusions can be formed and the criminal justice system can be effective with those who suffer from a mental illness.

More than two-fifths of State prisoners (43%) and more than half of jail inmates (54%) reported symptoms that met the criteria for mania. About 23% of State prisoners and 30% of jail inmates reported symptoms of major depression. An estimated 15% of State prisoners and 24% of jail inmates reported symptoms that met the criteria for a psychotic disorder. – Doris J. James & Lauren E. Glaze, Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail Inmates, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, BJS.OJP.USDOJ.GOV, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/mhppji.pdf (last visited Feb. 2, 2012).

It is crucially important to understand how the criminal justice system impacts the mentally ill, or perhaps just as apropos, how the mentally ill impact the criminal justice system. There may not be one definitive study on how many mentally ill people are in our prisons; however, the consensus appears to be it is a significant amount. The issue of the mentally ill in the prisons is only part of the equation. Another part is how mentally ill are dealt with by police. Also, legislation at the state and federal level affects directly the options available to the mentally ill.

I hope to make this a unique, indispensable resource for mental health law in Arizona, but also for people across the United States looking to see how it works in Arizona for comparative research purposes.

*Nothing written on this blog is intended as legal advice. While this blog will look at legal issues it should only be used for informational and entertainment purposes. I am not an attorney in any way, shape or form. If you need an attorney, please hire one.

About the Author:

My name is Joe Thomas and I am a law school student and this is my blog.

I have witnessed mental illness vicariously through both friends and family. The struggles I have seen have inspired me to to learn and research mental health law while in school and to pursue it as part of my practice after I pass the bar. It is a subject that is very important to me and my hope is to write thought-provoking, informative articles.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me.