Source: Sarah Steverman and Tara Lubin, State Legislatures, Vol. 33 no. 4, April 2007
Diverting people with mental illnesses out of prison takes commitment from the community along with adequate funding.
Community mental health care can be costly, but it is far cheaper for states than incarceration. It costs around $26 a day to treat someone in a community mental health program, but it can cost more than $65 a day to keep them in jail. And states can tap federal resources to help pay for community mental health services. The vast majority of prison costs, however, falls on the state.