Introduction. Mental Illness Today Is A Social Crisis That

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Introduction Mental illness today is a social crisis that began with the onset of deinstitutionalization leading to a massive increase within our prison population. People with mental illnesses often cycle repeatedly through courtrooms, jails, and prisons that are ill-equipped to address their needs and, in particular, to provide adequate treatment. There are also many other factors in prisons that have negative effects on mental health such as overcrowding, violence, solitude, lack of privacy, isolation from social networks and family. Upon release into society, they are left with nowhere to turn for help or to receive treatment, leaving them as a potential danger to society and themselves. Our current mental health system is a…show more content…
Since the onset of deinstitutionalization among other factors, we have continued to see a trend of shutdowns of mental health facilities across the nation, leaving those who suffer from mental illness with few places to go except for to jail or prison. In a 2006 special report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted a study of the mental health problems within prisons and jail. In their study, mental health problems were defined by two measures: a recent history or symptoms of a mental health problem which must have occurred in the 12 months prior to the study which is further detailed in their report. It was found that at midyear 2005 more than half of all prison and jail inmates had a mental health problem, including 705,600 inmates in State prisons, 78,800 in Federal prisons, and 479,000 in local jails. Also found was that an estimated 47% of State prisoners and 42% of jail inmates who had a mental health problem, compared to 39% of State prisoners and 33% of jail inmates of those without a mental health problem, had served 3 or more prior sentences to probation or incarceration. This gives further speculation into the potential issue of a continued and possibly repeated cycle of the mentally ill having few places to go other than back into our prison system, leaving a need for reviews of policies and programs to analyze possible causes and solutions to this growing problem. One large thought and reasoning
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