The epilogue reflects on the contemporary crisis of mass incarceration in the United States, which has particularly affected people with mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders. It argues that today’s crisis is deeply rooted in the past history of mental health policy and offers a few main lessons for people working to make change. First, restrictive environments such as prisons and mental hospitals are inappropriate places to hold people on a mass scale. Second, it cautions people who are working to decarcerate prisons today. The history of deinstitutionalization proved that that cost-cutting cannot be the main reason for change, as it led to inadequate resources. People invested in prison reform should also be cautious that decarceration does not lead to new forms of restrictive environments, which happened during deinstitutionalization.
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