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Contest Entries

'America's Forgotten Patients,' Al-Jazeera English

Entrants: Josh Rushing, Jeremy Young and Hanaan Sarhan

Affiliation: Al-Jazeera English

Television

Year: 2009

Place: Second Place

Provide a brief synopsis of the story or stories, including any significant findings.

This report explored the system in which we treat mental illness in America. Where state hospitals used to supply treatment for severe mental illness, nowadays local jails and state prisons have become the main prism through which we as a society deal with this issue. Police Departments have tried to adapt to more mentally ill on the streets while those working in jails and prisons have had to deal with an influx of sick people behind bars. How did this come to be? Does health care reform have any effect on the plight of the mentally ill? What are prisons doing to prepare mentally ill prisoners for their release to the outside world?

Judges' comments: A new and fresh-eyed look at an old problem. Just enough facts and first-person interviews; well shot and well explained. Just what a good television piece should be. You go in, you show, you explain, you get out.

See "America's Forgotten Patients."

See the archived story and the questionnaire in which the reporters write about how this story was written.