The United States criminal justice system has been continuously increasing incarceration among individuals who suffer from a sever mental illness. As of 2007 individuals with severe mental illness were over twice as likely to be found in prisons than in society (National Commission of Correctional Health Care, 2002, as cited in Litschge &Vaughn, 2009). The offenses that lead to their commitment in a criminal facility, in the majority of cases, derive from symptoms of their mental illness instead of deviant behavior. Our criminal justice system is failing those who would benefit more from the care of a psychiatric rehabilitation facility or psychiatric hospital by placing them in correctional facilities or prisons.
In the video, “The New Asylums”, it demonstrated how deinstitutionalization has left thousands of mentally ill patients in the hands of the prison system. As the mental health hospitals closed down, the police department and prison system has become responsible for the mentally ill people that are on the streets. There was a firm point made about the release of mentally ill patients- “When hundreds of thousands of mentally ill are released, they do not magically become healthy. They went to the streets, became homeless, and turned to a system that cannot say no.” The video also stated that today, there are nearly 500,000 mentally ill people being held in jails and prisons throughout the country. Furthermore, there was no safety net for those
Given the number of incarcerated inmates who suffer from some form of mental illness, there are growing concerns and questions in the medical field about treatment of the mentally ill in the prison system. When a person with a mental illness commits a crime or break the law, they are immediately taken to jail or sent off to prison instead of being evaluated and placed in a hospital or other mental health facility. “I have always wondered if the number of mentally ill inmates increased since deinstitutionalization” Since prison main focus is on the crimes inmates are incarcerated; the actual treatment needed for the mentally ill is secondary. Mentally ill prisoners on the surface may appear to be just difficult inmates depending on the
In recent years, correctional facilities have begun to experience an influx of inmates who suffer with mental illness. Per Morgan, et al (2011), ?the United States has three times more individuals with severe mental illnesses in prisons than in psychiatric hospitals.? Most prisons in this country aren?t equipped to properly care for the mentally ill persons who enter the facility. Individuals with mental illness are more likely to be placed in prisons rather than a mental health institution to receive help to deal
People with mental illnesses are at greater risk of homelessness. This is particularly true for people with serious mental illnesses, particularly those that might impact their reality testing, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009). California, like other areas of the country, sees a relationship between mental illness and homelessness. In fact, mental illness may be one of the most significant risk factors for homelessness. Of people with serious mental illness seen by California's public mental health system, approximately 15% of them experienced at least one bout of homelessness in a one-year period (Folsom et al., 2005). Furthermore, "According to the Substance Abuse and Mental
The Frontline episode “The New Asylums”, dove into the crisis mentally ill inmates face in the psychiatric ward in Ohio state prisons. The episode shows us the conditions and every day lives of mentally ill patients in Ohio state prisons, and explains how these inmates got to this point. It appeared that most of these prisoners should have been patients in an institute of some sort, out in society, but unfortunately due to whatever circumstances they ended up in prison. According to the episode, most of the inmates end up in prison due to them not coping with the outside world on their own. Prior to becoming imprisoned, the inmates had difficulties dealing with the outside world. Mainly due to lack of necessary
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).
In this article, the incarceration of the mentally ill is encouraged because it is safer than keeping them in mental institutions. It claims that mental institutions are extremely dangerous by their very nature and the nurses there are trained to treat the mentally ill, not to keep them from hurting themselves or other people. In prisons however, the
Around the 1970’s and 1980’s around the United States many mental hospitals were shut down. There were many reasons why they closed these Asylums was because money, and knowing that there was only about twenty county asylums were built around the country. The asylums also known as the Looney bin was established in Britain after passing in 1808 county asylum act. There were so many patients in these asylums around the world in 1955 about 558,239 severely mentally ill people in the United States were accounted for. Now in these times any mentally ill people don’t get help they just go straight to jail without proper diagnosis or treatment. People need to know these people need extreme care and treatment. Even regular people or considered the norm in today’s society eventually go crazy when they’re in prison too long. We have as much people that are mentally ill as regularly incarcerated. There is one prison in Houston Texas that does take care there mentally ill. We have about 2.2 million
Throughout the years, the United States criminal justice system has been constantly incarcerating individuals who endure from a severe mental illness. People who suffer from serious mental illness are doubtlessly to be discovered in prison. There is a significant amount of mentally ill offenders that are placed in the state and federal institutions. The mentally ill are overpopulating the prisons. The criminal justice system is a deficiency for those who can profit more from the help of mental health treatment center or psychiatric hospital by sending individuals to correctional facilities or prisons. Today’s jails and prisons are being labeled as the new mental health hospitals for the mentally ill offenders. Commonly in today’s society, it generally takes other individuals who are willing to educate and support the mentally ill person into becoming successful in life.
Despite the fact that my parents have worked in the criminal justice system for many years, I have never given much thought to the treatment of prisoners. As we learned from the readings, the current state of the United States criminal justice system is imperfect to the point of cruelty to those involved in it. This is truer for individuals with a mental illness. Due to a lack of psychiatric facilities throughout Alabama and overcrowding of those that do exist, many criminal offenders with mental illnesses are sent to prisons instead. State prisons are currently overcrowded, leading to substandard conditions such in almost every aspect.
The incarceration of those who are mentally ill is on the continual rise. Many states juggle with the decision of placing offenders in Mental Hospital or locating them in State Prisons. Latessa and Holsinger (2011) discuss two major reasons for the increase of those with mental illness within the prison system. First, many states have no longer allow for the insanity plea during criminal trials, thus those who suffer from mental illness are not required to receive mandatory mental treatment. This is due to the discomforting idea that criminal offenders should not be given the same living conditions as those whom are patients of mental wards. Secondly, longer sentences have created a surplus of mentally ill offenders needing treatment. Soderstrom (2007) added that the lack of mental health support systems in
The shutdown of state mental hospitals and lack of available financial and institutional resources force mentally ill people to the United States Judicial System for mental health. Every year thousands of people are arrested for various crimes and they are sent to jail. Sixteen percent of these people have some type of mental health problem (Public Broadcasting System , 2001). When we consider that the United States has the largest incarcerated population in the world at 2.2 million, this number is staggering (Anasseril E. Daniel, 2007). This is about 1% of the entire population of the United States. There are many reasons as to why the situation has taken such a bad turn and when the history of the treatment of mental illness is examined one can see how the situation developed into the inhumane disaster it is today.
Today, it seems almost incomprehensible that so many people with serious mental illnesses reside in prisons instead of receiving treatment. Over a century and a half ago, reform advocates like Dorothea Dix campaigned for prison reform, urging lawmakers to house the mentally ill in hospitals rather than in prisons. The efforts undertaken by Dix and other like-minded reformers were successful: from around 1870 to 1970, most of the United States’ mentally ill population was housed in hospitals rather than in prisons. Considering reformers made great strides in improving this situation over a century and a half ago. Granted, mental hospitals in the late 19th and early 20th century were often badly run and critically flawed, but rather than pushing for reform of these hospitals, many politicians lobbied for them to close their doors, switching instead to a community-based system for treating the mentally ill. Although deinstitutionalization was originally understood as a humane way to offer more suitable services to the mentally ill in community-based settings, some politicians seized upon it as a way to save money by shutting down institutions without providing any meaningful treatment alternatives. This callousness has created a one-way road to prison for massive numbers of impaired individuals and the inhumane warehousing of thousands of mentally ill people. Nevertheless, there are things that can be done to lower the rate mentally ill persons are being incarcerated. Such
This research paper discusses the issues of people who suffer from mental illness being placed in jails instead of receiving the necessary treatment they need. The number of inmates serving time in jail or prison who suffer from mental illness continues to rise. In 2015 the Bureau of Justice reported that sixty five percent of state prisoners and fourth five percent of federal prisoners suffered from mental conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Individuals who suffer from these problems require special mental health treatment for their needs to be met. Many of our prisons and jails lack the necessary resources to care for these inmates and because of that inmates who do not receive the treatment they need are at a higher risk of becoming a repeat offender. Despite the research and findings that show that the criminal justice system is unable to deal with issues dealing with the mentally ill there has been limited solutions put in place. Given the challenges the criminal justice system faces it is important to address the problem and come up with better solutions. This research paper will discuss the various techniques and solutions that scholars have propped and their effect on the issue of mentally ill criminals and how the criminal justice system should approach the problem.