Nashville’s Strained Public Resources for the Mentally Ill

Stephen Hale of Nashville Scene’s Pith in the Wind blog asks, “why are we putting William Walters in jail?”  A few weeks ago, Walters dangled on a road sign over I-65, shutting down the highway during the evening rush hour.  After a very public mental health crisis, the man was sent to jail for 20 days.  Public Defender Dawn Deaner told Pith in the Wind,

“I can say the decision to arrest Mr. Walters and pursue criminal charges against him was a classic example of how poorly Nashville deals with individuals who act out in a manner that appears motivated by mental illness, as opposed to criminality,” she says, in an emailed statement. “This was not an isolated situation. Every day in Nashville, individuals — often poor and homeless — are arrested and brought to jail for behavior rooted in untreated mental illness.

Read the entire piece over at Nashville Scene.


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