Sixteen (16) percent of the population in prison or jail has a serious mental illness.  Of the 10 million people booked into U.S. Jails in 1997, at least 7,000 had a serious mental illness; approximately three –quarters of those individuals had a co-occurring substance abuse disorder (Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project, 2002).

There are approximately 70,000 persons with severe mental illnesses in public psychiatric hospitals, and 30 percent of them are forensic patients.  Additionally, police are increasingly becoming front-line respondents to people with severe mental illnesses experiencing crises in the community (