As the healthcare debate rages in the US, the fate of the hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people in American jails and prisons has been absent from the agenda. In a special report, Fault Lines’ Josh Rushing visited detention facilities in Texas and discovered how inmates with mental illness are treated. Homelessness has become a part of the landscape of every major city and town in the US, but it is often more than poverty that is to blame for the plight of the homeless. While there are no exact figures, advocacy groups estimate that as many as 80 per cent of homeless people suffer from mental illness. For many, this eventually leads to confrontations with the law – which explains how the mentally ill have come to make up more than half of the US prison population.