In Reply: We appreciate Dr. Parker's comment on our paper, and we wholeheartedly agree that the power of the budget's bottom line drives many policy decisions in both behavioral health services and criminal justice systems. Dr. Parker's point underscores our main points. Mental health professionals are allowing the criminal justice system to redefine the goal of mental health treatment services. Mental health professionals can work harder to counter this trend with proposals that are driven by the public health interest in the client's welfare, as opposed to the public safety focus of the criminal justice system.
If we persist in allowing budgetary concerns to have the last word, then we will uphold the status quo. The mental health system can continue to save money by ignoring this population, while the criminal justice system continues to assume responsibility for this client population because that system cannot say no.