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WATCH! A panel on incarceration and mental health in Pa.

by Spotlight PA Staff |

Nate Smallwood / For Spotlight PA and PINJ
The Allegheny County Jail, where people deemed incompetent to stand trial wait for a spot in a state hospital.

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Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Procedures Act of 1976 was designed to protect people experiencing mental health issues from prosecution if they cannot understand the legal system and cannot aid in their own defense.

A six-month investigation by Spotlight PA and the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism found that the law often traps these people in jails — which can worsen their mental health — and that it has little oversight and is applied inconsistently.

In a September event at Point Park University, panelists discussed Pennsylvania’s mental health system and how Spotlight PA and PINJ reported out their investigation. Watch it below.

The panelists were:

  • Danielle Ohl, justice system reporter, Spotlight PA

  • Brittany Hailer, director, Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism

  • Tanisha Long, community organizer, Abolitionist Law Center

  • Jeremy Northup, psychology professor, Point Park University

  • Nev Jones, mental health researcher and professor, University of Pittsburgh

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