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
Attitudes toward the mentally ill started to change in the 60’s and 70’s from both the communities and professionals. The two began to recognize that the mentally ill had rights to live an independent life style like that of ordinary citizens. Before this, people with mental illness or developing disabilities had been institutionalized, giving strong medications, sedated and isolated from the rest of society. Living amongst the community, they receive their medication as well as interact with the general public. In addition, they also interact with security personnel and law enforcement officers, and all too frequently with unfortunate consequences. (Russell, 2012).
People with mental illness have always been discriminated against; to have an exclusion such as this go through Congress without being repealed is reprehensible. The IMD Exclusion provides the states with financial incentives to provide substandard care, or no care at all. It encourages states to shift costs by placing mentally ill patients anywhere but psychiatric hospitals (Davoli, 2003).
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
Within contemporary society, the legal process of placing an individual into a detention or psychatric treatment facility is called "civil commitment." Typically, this is reserved for the mentally ill, or those people who have satisfied the Court's rule that they are a danger to others, or to themselves. Society realizes that, at times, an individual may pose a danger to themselves or to society and be unable to make rational decisions. In fact, in most jurisdictions in the modern world, involuntary commitment procedures are specifically applied to individuals who have manifested some form of serious mental illness that acts to impair their reasoning to such extent that they are unable to make cogent and logical decisions. Therefore, at these times the state (the Court system) must intercede to find ways to make the appropriate decisions under a legal template. Involuntary commitment may have, in the past, been used in certain situations, inappropriately, but the statutory criteria that indicates one is a danger to self or others usually acts as a legal axiom (Korba, 2008).
The articles inform that more mentally ill people are in jail than in hospitals. According to statistics 159,000 of mentally ill are presently incarcerated in jails and prisons, mostly of crimes committed because they were not being treated. Some of them become violent and may terrorize their families and neighborhoods. Tragically, most of those instances of incarceration are unnecessary. We know what to do, but for economic, legal and ideological reasons, we fail to do it.
Due in part to the community's lack of preparedness and resources, the needs of many of the deinstitutionalized has not been meet. Therefore many of the mentally ill have ended up exchanging hospitalization for institutionalization in prison or jail." This situation left many mentally ill on the streets with no one to look after them except the nation's police. Another reason for the increasing number of mentally ill individuals in the community is the expense of mental health services. Many individuals are unemployed and therefore without income. Many are not covered by health insurance and the individuals who do have insurance are often smothered under restrictions on coverage for mental illness. Others face time limits on in-patient treatment that will have rewarding effects. Others have difficulty accessing government-funded health coverage. Others depending upon their condition are not even aware that this program exits. Regardless of the reasoning police, as well as judge's and probation officers are on a daily basis faced with the increasing number of mentally ill individuals that are rotated amongst the system.
The mentally ill population in society is an oppressed group of individuals because they are powerlessness, exploited and marginalized. Powerless because of the inhibitions against the development of their capacity, the lack of power in decision making and the disrespect that they faced because of their status (Mullaly 2010, p. 37). Individuals will often stare, point, make negative ignorant statements and devalue the mentally ill because they behave in a different manner from the rest of society. They are oppressed on the personal and the structural level because of the inequities experienced, which in turn cause them disproportionate levels and incidences of stress, anguish, frustration, alienation, exclusions and a higher mortality rate (Mullaly 2010, p.153). Being incarcerated is also a form of oppression because they are a group that is segregated from the general population, denied specific rights and have
Every individual is accorded with civil liberties which are protected both by the federal and state laws. They cannot be deprived with their liberties without due process of law except when there are compelling reasons to do so. One of the processes which deprive impaired persons from their civil liberties is civil commitment. The State of Utah (2016) defines civil commitment as a legal process of incarcerating an individual with symptoms involving several mental illnesses by providing compulsory, court-ordered treatment. Individuals are detained and are restricted from their movements because the illnesses they have may pose imminent danger to others or even themselves. For the purposes of this paper, the topic to be assessed
The criminal justice system lacks the necessary fiscal resources to manage the needs of mentally ill offenders. Mentally ill offenders have limited access to mental health professionals, medical staff, and criminal justice professionals who can accurately assess, evaluate, diagnose and treat their mental health issues. “Prisons and jails have a legal obligation to provide health and mental health care for inmates” (Ford et al. (2007), yet mentally ill offenders are not receiving services they need or are entitled to receive. U.S. courts have ruled that persons incarcerated have a constitutional right to receive medical and mental health care. The care delivered must meet minimum standards (Ruiz v. Estelle), and the health care has no
In a real life case from Virginia in August 1997, 16 year old Christopher Sharikas was put in jail for stealing a car and assaulting it’s owner by stabbing her in the neck. He was being controlled by voices in his head, because he was infected with paranoid schizophrenia. According to USA Today, “Sharikas’ Palestinian-born mother, Sana Campbell, says her son has been raped and repeatedly beaten while incarcerated. The mass closing of state mental hospitals, a lack of community-based psychiatric services, and civil rights laws that require a mentally ill person to pose an immediate danger to themselves or others before families can intervene have led to our jails and prisons becoming our asylums, causing Sharikas and others who need treatment to be punished, primarily for getting sick.” (Earley, Paragraph 7). This illustrates that since the mental health treatment in the town Christopher was living in was so corrupted, they couldn’t take the treatment. So instead the mentally ill prisoner was sent to jail, and the result wasn’t good, as read in the quote. It is also why governments should make an effort to ensure of their mental health tools, and laws that are able to prevent messes like these. It is what happens to the treatment because of poor governments that the mentally ill, like Christopher, get sent to jail and get punished for being
Ultimately, involuntary commitment remains a complicated medically and ethically debated topic; one that creates a conflict and clear divide, between individuals who content that involuntary commitment results in vulnerable individuals with psychiatric illnesses being subjective to coercion and civil rights infringement, and those who believe, based on the principle of utility, that involuntary commitment is essential and integral to the safety of the those with psychiatric illnesses, as well as to society as a whole. Both sides offer empirical evidence, as well as moral support for why they believe involuntary commitment is either legally and morally acceptable, or ethically unacceptable, and thereby should be illegal. Regardless, infringing
The tensions and controversies surrounding involuntary commitment of the mentally ill community is at it all times highest rate. What I mean there is so man people being diagnosed with the same mental illness. For example, as currently working in the school system I see man children being diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar or other mental illness. I am really surprise to see children diagnosed with these mental illnesses at an early age. I really think a lot have to do with the parenting skills. Do not get me wrong some do have a mental illness but, not most. A lot of parents just want the SSI check to benefit them. However, if a Doctor diagnosed them with a mental issue they should be committed in getting the right treatment. As stated in the
Throughout the centuries mental illness has been treated by countless treatments. Modern treatments have created an argument over which treatment options are best. the most debates treatments today are medication and therapy. the argument of medication versus therapy as treatments for mental illness is fairly new. Yet, proponents of both sides have strong arguments stating the advantages of their treatment option. proponents of medication believe pharmacogenetics, tailored treatments, and medication's ability to treat severe disorders makes medication the better treatment option. proponents of therapy believe drug addiction, suicide prevention, and need adaption establishes therapy as the better treatment choice.