Dateline Special: Back To Bedlam


Rivera returns to the subject of the mentally handicapped, in this hour long report which notes the fact that hundreds of thousands of people in need of psychiatric care are incarcerated in jails and prisons. On any given day (in 1999) there are 300,000 mentally ill people behind bars. Many of them are teenagers who have found it impossible to find treatment in the outside world. Yet once in jail, they are far more likely to be beaten and abused than given medical or psychological care. Rivera goes to the Swanson Correctional Center for Youth in Louisiana, where many of the impaired are incarcerated with violent criminal offenders. In addition to tracing the history and the many failures of de-institutionalization, Rivera explores programs that have helped some formerly institutionalized patients to find jobs and live independently.

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