Mental Health in Texas Prisons and Jails

2845 Words12 Pages
SWOK 534- Fall 2012
Mental Health in Texas prisons and jails
October 13, 2012

University of Southern California

A. Introduction: Issue, Policy, Problem:
Texas has approximately 24.3 million residents according to 2010 state statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Close to 833,000 adults live with a serious mental illness. Within these 24.3 million residents of Texas in 2008, approximately 37,700 adults with a mental illness were incarcerated ( Additionally, there is an estimated 31% of female and 14% of male jail inmates nationally live with serious mental illness. We see this because there are inadequate public mental health services to meet the needs of those suffering. Texas public mental health
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During his tenure as superintendent of the two institutions, Wallace successfully resisted political patronage in the asylums, advocated removal of the "harmless mentally retarded" from them, did away with restraint, introduced occupational and recreation activities as treatment modalities, and utilized furloughing as a prominent part of institutional procedure. Dr. David Wallace was a true advocate for the mentally ill, and fought for their right to be treated respectfully. Overcrowding became a major problem during the 1940s. Public pressure to reduce the lengthy waiting lists for admission to state hospitals and to remove mentally ill individuals from local jails increased occupancy in already overcrowded hospitals. In 1943, the legislature converted the Confederate Home for Men into a hospital for mentally ill male geriatric patients in order to provide beds in the larger hospitals. In 100 years, the state system for caring for the mentally ill grew to nine state hospitals scattered about the state. Their population had, however, begun to decline as a result of new treatment techniques and changing social ideas about the role of state psychiatric hospitals in caring for afflicted individuals (Creson).
Over the years, as the population continued to grow, so did crime, drug use, and violence. Research indicates that 72% of both male and female jail detainees with severe mental disorders also meet criteria for substance use disorders of
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