Contributed by: Patrick Sieng | AOC Public Safety Policy Manager

September 20, 2016

Every year, more than 11 million people move through America’s 3,100 local jails, many on low-level, non-violent misdemeanors, costing local governments approximately $22 billion a year. In local jails, 64 percent of people suffer from mental illness, 68 percent have a substance abuse disorder, and 44 percent suffer from chronic health problems. Communities across the country have recognized that a relatively small number of these highly vulnerable people cycle repeatedly not just through local jails, but also hospital emergency rooms, shelters, and other public