Leap on Need for Fair, Accurate Depictions of Mental Illness
A Los Angeles Times story on the arrest of a man accused of two stabbings, including a fatal attack on a high school student, cited Jorja Leap, adjunct social welfare professor and expert on criminal justice. The suspect’s motives were unclear. City Councilman Kevin de León, whose district includes the site of the attacks, suggested that he suffered from mental illness and referred to the streets of Los Angeles as “the largest psychiatric ward in the United States.” Leap countered that it was “inaccurate and irresponsible” to paint Los Angeles with such a broad brush depicting mental illness. Law enforcement agencies do not track crimes committed by mentally ill people, she said, adding, “So many [people with mental health issues] cannot even care for themselves, let alone think about taking the life of another human being.”
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