Photographer Captures the Experiences of Mentally Ill Prison Inmates
Due to the evaporation of funding that supports mental health facilities, many prisons across the United States have been given the extra duty of treating those who are mentally ill. These patient-prisoners are often trapped within the systems with no where else to go for better treatment.
Trapped is a project by Minneapolis, Minnesota-based photographer Jenn Ackerman that shares the experiences of these prisoners through gritty black-and-white photographs.
Ackerman spent months shooting the images inside the Correctional Psychiatric Treatment Unit (CPTU) of the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR) — a medium-security prison for adult men that’s located about 30 miles northeast of Louisville, Kentucky.
It is estimated that within the Kentucky prison system, roughly 25% of prisoners are suffering from a serious mental health issue (e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar). A 2006 study by the US Department of Justice revealed that there are only around 55,000 patients being treated in mental health hospitals, while roughly 555,000 mentally ill people are locked away in the nation’s prison system.