Criminalization Of The Mentally Ill

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Criminalization of the Mentally Ill
When discussing the criminalization of mentally ill persons within the prison system, it is important to know the history of mental illness in the prison system. In1841, Dorothea Dix began her Asylum Movement. She saw how deplorable the conditions were for mentally ill inmates in the prison system and insisted on change. The mental ill inmates were treated very poorly, being beaten, starved, and sexually abused. Dix brought her findings to the legislature of Massachusetts and funds were then set aside to expand the mental hospital in Worcester. This was then duplicated across the country and many of the mentally ill were taken out of the prison setting and moved to get appropriate care (history.com staff, 2009). This was in the 1840’s. Dix’s efforts helped to decrease the amount of mentally ill in jails without appropriate care. Her efforts resulted in prisons containing only 0.7 per cent of mentally ill inmates (Chaimowitz, 2012, p 1).
Today, prison’s are again becoming the number one spot for the mentally ill to occupy. This increase is related to the discovery and use of psychotropic medications, which came into the picture in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This discovery of medication led to many psychiatric patients being released from psychiatric hospitals with the intention of them receiving treatment out in the community through primary care providers and clinics. The decrease in the amount of psychiatric patients in psychiatric
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