The 51st letter: You are keeping people in jail

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 51st letter to you.

You are keeping people in jail.

Let me paint a picture:

1.  Everyone talks about the travesty of mentally ill people in jail.  Mental illness is not supposed to be a crime.  And it has become one.

2.  According to a study by Nami over 60% of the people with mental illness in this state are unemployed.  Most of that unemployment is due to prejudice and stigma.

3.  Because of this they tend to be disproportionately poor, homeless, and without insurance.

4.  Many also have substance abuse issues.

5.  80,000 people with mental health diagnoses fall into the coverage gap.

6.  Many leave jails without access to the care they need that would help them stay out of jail.

7.  The expansion of Tenn Care would go as far towards addressing this issue as anything.

8.  Not expanding Tenn Care keeps them in a “go to jail” cycle.

Governor please expand Tenn Care.  It is the only moral choice.  We are no longer drinking the koolaid.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

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