Each year defendants claim to be mentally insane so they may receive medical treatment for their illness instead of serving jail or prison time. It is my belief that all mentally ill citizens should have the right to be medically treated. Although, not all of these people should be allowed back into society after they have reached their sanity. Some extreme cases such as the case of John Wayne Gacy who was proven insane should still never be let back onto the public streets. John Wayne Gacy murdered and raped 33 young men from the Chicago area then plead and Gacy was found insane. Thankfully Gacy’s insanity was ignored and he was sentenced to death. Some cases of insanity should be sentenced properly with treatment after being proven insane by a psychiatric team, but extreme cases should still be treated the same as any sane person.
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.
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
I believe so many are diagnosed with mental illness in the criminal justice system due to their repetitive actions of law breaking. In the beginning, these offenders are unaware a mental illness exists. So many offenders have pre-existing mental illnesses which are untreated; others may acquire a mental illness while incarcerated. This could be due to aging, or an occurrence which takes place in prison such as segregation. Separating humans from and isolating them from any population is
Psychological disorders are common in the United States and worldwide. The National institute of mental Health discovered that, “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.” Having an uncle who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 2003 has changed the way I see people with mental illnesses. After reading and watching the documentary about prisoners who have to undergo medication just to live a “normal” life has given me inspiration to come up with a few ways that will help our justice system deal with these sorts of individuals. While researchers are trying to come up with different medical measures to cure these diseases we as individuals can implement some procedures to help and support mental patients.
Mentally ill offenders should be sentenced for crimes they committed, but be sent to mental hospitals to receive help instead of jails and prisons. It is stated by the Treatment Advocacy Center that “in 2012 prisons and jails in the United States held more than 356,000 inmates with severe mental illnesses compared with approximately 35,000 patients with severe mental illness in state psychiatric hospitals.”(NewsObserver, Para 3) These statistics show that mentally ill offenders are being sentenced for their crimes which is good, but aren’t able to receive the help they need while in prisons. Mentally ill offenders who have illnesses such as schizophrenia which is a brain disorder that makes people feel delusional and hear voices, should be sentenced for their crimes so they don’t hurt anyone else nor themselves. The offenders who are imprisoned with this disorder should be charged for their crimes because
After the “deinstitutionalization” of the mental hospitals in the United States during the 1960s there has been a great increase in the amount of persons with serious mental illness incarcerate in jails and prisons (Torrey et al., 2014, p. 6). The incarceration of a mental ill person is inhumane and should be illegal. This action not only causes a deterioration of the individual that is suffering from the illness but causes problems with other inmates, the jail and prison staff, and the public. The inability to provide the proper treatment to these subjects through the criminal justice system is an emotional and financial burden for all parties involved. Mentally ill persons who have said to committed crimes should
For instance not all people may not even be in their right state of mind; mens rea, when committing a crime. Some people can be mentally ill that they have no control over their actions. There are approximately 356,000 inmates with serious mental illness in jails and state prisons(Torrey EF, Zdanowicz MT, Kennard AD, par. 1). Of that 356,000 only a small percentage actually receive help that they need. At least 83% of jail inmates with a mental illness did not have access to needed treatment(NAMI, 5). This staggering number yet only proves that tougher sentencing will create more criminals. When a mentally ill person does not receive the adequate help they deserve it will just make their actions repetitive because they are not learning right from wrong. Detaining them in jails or prisons creates an environment much like an asylum, which can lead to more serious issues.
Many individuals in prison have mental health and addiction problems. The only way they can be helped is by our system offering lower-cost alternatives to incarceration to address the problem which led them to criminal activity. Studies have indicated that only 10% or fewer inmates received mental health care while incarcerated which in turn is costly and ineffective. Studies have shown it cost $1.8 billion to house mentally ill offenders whom return quickly to the correctional system because these systems lack aftercare planning and communities lack sufficient services to meet their needs. If correctional staff and programs in the community could expand services as well as provide better coordination then it could help stabilize mentally ill offenders in the community, cut down criminal activity and prevent the return to jail or prison. The more often an individual is incarcerated the more likely they are a substance abuser. Once the person is release from a lengthy sentence with no skills to address the addiction, it’s actually the same skills they had when entering the system. Its clear treatment is more effective because it has been proven that individuals will less likely be arrested, less likely to use drugs again as well as being more effective in reducing drug-related crime than incarceration (Reducing Recidivism by Expanding Funding for Alternatives to Incarceration, 2011).
A controversial topic that has been prevalent in the United States for many years is the incarceration of the mentally ill. Should it be legal or illegal? Well, for one it is definitely not moral. Incarcerating those with mental disorders deteriorates their health and forbids them of their right to obtain needed treatment. Imprisoning the mentally ill is simply inhumane. An amendment should be added to the constitution stating that it is illegal for the mentally ill to be put in jail. Instead, they should be placed in a treatment with high security so they are still isolated from society, but they are also in a place that is equipped for people with mental disorders to live.
While it is inevitable that some prisoners will have psychiatric problems, it would be beneficial to reduce the rates. In Canada, there are some attempts to do this. Under section 672.38(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, each province has a Review Board to handle people who are found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder (NCRMD) or unfit to stand trial. A person with a “disease of the mind” may be deemed NCRMD if they are incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or omission or of knowing that it was wrong. This is a fairly high standard, which requires a significant degree of mental impairment. If a person is found to be NCRMD, the court or Review Board must decide to discharge the accused absolutely,
We can no longer ignore this on-going age old problem of dealing with the mentally ill by hiding those plagued, away in a prison cell to be forgotten. Despite the success of Dorothea Dix in solving the problems with adverse conditions in the prison system, we have come full circle and are currently back where we started over a century ago. There has been so much focus put on housing the mentally ill, we have all but forgotten about any type of treatment plans to help the overall growing problem. The handling of the mentally ill in the prison system was on a collision course with the Court. Most of the prison systems have one time or another violated prisoners’ rights under the 8th amendment, cruel and unusual punishment.
With the termination of state psychiatric hospitals and the decline in funding for mental health benefits, many individuals with severe mental illnesses are entangled in the criminal justice system. Moreover, the country's jails and prisons have become hospitals for people with mental illnesses, many of whom also battle with substance abuse. There is a crucial need to repair a defective system. The criminal justice system must address the mass incarceration and impede public expenses that do not generate beneficial results in terms of providing valuable services and keeping extremely mentally ill persons out of the countries prisons and jails. Concentrating on this inadequacy will require the state and county policymakers to join forces; developing
In recent years, there seems to be more people with mental illnesses being housed in jails rather than in a facility where they can get special treatment that they may need. “Jail has been a dumping ground for those that are mentally ill for some time” (Lacey, 2016). It seems that those with mental illness commit minor crimes will end up being put in jail to only be rereleased where they will end up back in jail. It would be a wise decision to give them treatment for their mental illness rather than locking them up in a jail cell and throwing away the key. The police department in in Richmond is trying to find alternative ways to deal with people whom have a mental illness by “offering crisis intervention team training to find alternative ways
When it comes to public safety, judges find it easier to just sentence mentally ill offenders to prison or jail. They see it as if the person is incarcerated there is at least a chance that they will receive medication. If the person is just released into the public it is unlikely that they will continuously take medication properly.9 Also when they are incarcerated and then released to the streets, they are not provided with little or no discharge plan. Judges do not have the connections with mental health service providers who know what kinds of treatment options are best for the mentally ill. In the court system no one really takes the time to connect them to treatment, specialized housing and other helpful services. Even if they were connected to some form of treatment it would also be beneficial if someone checked to