The need for care, not incarceration Featured Image

May 30, 2017

Marcus Beg lives in a shed on the deck of his daughter’s grandmother, Marguerite MacDougall. Beg has undiagnosed mental health issues. His erratic and sometimes threatening behaviour has landed him in jail where he is often in solitary confinement as his behaviour upsets other inmates.

According to Katie DeRosa, Beg’s life has been a cycle of mental illness, addiction and prison. Several times, when Beg is of control the police are called. Beg’s life is a cautionary tale of what happens to people in our society who are unable to access mental health care in our province. The lack of care for people like Beg means that other agencies and ministries have to step in to fill the void. In this case – it’s the police, courts and the correctional system taking the place of proper health care.

Board Voice, an organization comprised of the volunteer boards of community-based social service agencies from across B.C., believes that a social policy framework could go along way to putting services in place to help people meet their potential. In a coordinate social care system, Beg would have access to medical care, supportive housing and medication/therapy. There would be a coordinated response that took care of people rather than incarcerating them.

Read more about Marcus Beg and the need for mental health coordinated care.