'Conversations LIVE' looks at increase of the mentally ill in U.S. prisons

There are now three times more mentally ill people in jails and prisons than in hospitals in the United States, according to a 2010 study

WPSU-TV’s “Conversations LIVE” this week tackles the question of how America's jails and prisons became de facto mental health facilities, and the implications for all of us. Patty Satalia, host of the monthly call-in program, will be joined by guests Thom Brewster, John MacAlarney and Gary Lucht in a discussion of “Mental Health and the Justice System” at 8 p.m. Feb. 21.

Viewers can join the conversation by calling 800-543-8243 during the show, emailing connect@wpsu.org or tweeting @WPSU.

Brewster is executive director of Centre Peace, a Bellefonte-based organization that promotes restorative justice. The group’s Project Restore helps inmates learn job, time management and socialization skills by working at Centre Peace Used Household and Furniture Outlet. 

MacAlarney is executive director of Forensic System Solutions of Philadelphia, which develops educational programs for professionals in fields including criminal justice, health, education and social services. 

Lucht is forensics director at Stairways Behavioral Health, the largest provider of licensed mental health services in northwestern Pennsylvania. Stairways works with the Erie County Department of Human Services to deliver mental health and drug abuse services to Erie County inmates.

WPSU serves central Pennsylvania with programming, educational services and community outreach. Its public media services produce, acquire and distribute programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of an audience within central Pennsylvania.

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Last Updated February 19, 2013