Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness


Product Details

$16.99  $15.63
Basic Books
Publish Date
5.51 X 8.27 X 0.84 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Alisa Roth is the mental health correspondent for Minnesota Public Radio and frequent contributor to various NPR programs. A Soros Justice Fellow, her work has also appeared in the New York Review of Books and New York Times. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.


"Chilling...Roth writes movingly of the human toll of incarceration...She convincingly diagnoses the glaring inadequacies of mental health treatment in prison but she is not out for scapegoats...Insane is rife with sharp, brutal details that pull the reader beyond the realms of abstract policy debates."--New York Times Book Review
"This essential exposé, which includes tragic case histories, tells of legions of prisoners put in solitary confinement or subdued with medication...At the heart of the problem, Roth notes, is the changing landscape of mental-health care."--New Yorker
"Roth got rare access, including at mental health units inside the Los Angeles County Jail and a women's prison in Oklahoma, and dove deep into the stories of a handful of individuals whose florid mental illness led them to prison, was badly managed and resulted in awful outcomes...[She] navigates it with grace."--Marshall Project
"Alisa Roth's powerful new book...calls into question such simplistic solutions to the current crisis in our mental health-care system...Based on in-depth interviews and observations, the book provides revealing snapshots of conditions at New York City's Rikers Island, the Los Angeles County jail, and Chicago's Cook County jail, the nation's de facto three largest mental health-care providers."--Democracy Journal
"50 percent of the mentally ill go untreated-half of them because they can't afford it...The place where the poor are likely to get treated, if anywhere, is prison...With an eye not toward shaming but toward progress, [Roth] gestures at solutions."--San Antonio Express-News
"Powerful, heart-wrenching...A summons to action to correct a system that inflicts needless suffering on people in custody."--Time Free Press
"Deep, broad and well documented. Roth has provided an eye-opening book about mental health care in the U.S."--Missourian
"A searing exposé about the criminalization of mental illness...Though the subject matter dictates that much of the book is relentlessly depressing, the author is such a talented information gatherer and fluid stylist that the narrative becomes compulsive reading. An eye-opening book that cries out for change."--Kirkus (starred review)
"Roth strikes a powerful balance between big picture analysis and individual stories to make this searing account of America's misguided treatment of the mentally ill hard to ignore."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Superb...Roth stresses America's failure to provide the vital community mental health services first promised in the Kennedy years...Some of the most revealing sections of Insane deal with the officers who patrol these wards...Burnout is inevitable."--New York Review of Books