It might be a step in the right direction if mental health nurses were based in police stations to assist the officers who respond to calls and identify the ones with mental illnesses. Only too often, criminals with mental health problems are diagnosed only after they have been incarcerated in a prison.
Amongst the prisoners, there are always some with mental health issues or substance misuse problems. One in every four prisoners has a severe mental illness such as depression or schizophrenia. As a result, police officers spend a great deal of time they cannot afford, dealing with these people.
If a suspect is correctly diagnosed, they can be offered treatment and support which could affect the way they are dealt with by the criminal justice system. IF they are diagnosed and dealt with, the authorities have a way of reducing them from reoffending. While police officers should be working on their fight against crime, those with mental illnesses should be focused on and receive the care they need as soon as possible.
So many people are sent to prison needlessly due to a failure of the authorities to respond to some of the underlying issues in their lives. Nurses bring vital skills to these complex and challenging cases that are not meant for police officers to handle. Strictly speaking, mental illness should be dealt with long before a consumer reaches the stage of imprisonment.