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How can I help a relative with mental illness who has been arrested?

Jail is no place for a person with serious mental illness (SMI) who has committed only a minor crime. However, with few courts that are especially set up to deal with those with SMI, people are often given short or not-so-short jail terms.

Let the justice system know that there is a caring and interested family involved to minimize the trauma of incarceration. In some jurisdictions it is permitted for the family to submit a letter to be read by the judge. Be sure to visit the person and to assist in their release. Avoid using the criminal justice system as a means of getting your relative treated. Inevitably this does not turn out well.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.