Essay Mentally Ill in Prison

698 Words Aug 19th, 2011 3 Pages
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 …show more content…
With states closing many of its mental facilities in the communities, there were a lot of people in need of outpatient care who fell through the cracks of the system and ended up in prison. Prison is where many of them died from inadequate treatment. Prisons were suddenly receiving inmates with the following types of mental illnesses: Schizophrenia, bipolar, and deep depressions. These prisons just did not provide these inmates with any medication during their incarceration. Because the community based health services is lacking, and patients aren’t receiving sufficient outpatient care, it makes the effectiveness of deinstitutionalization a serious problem. Without the availability of 24/7 psychiatric services that are well structured, I believe that deinstitutionalization is what is accounting for the increase of the mentally ill inmates in the correctional facility.

Incarcerating the Mentally Ill
While most people are concerned and want violent offenders punished and thrown in prison (which is a valid concern), it is rare that violent acts are committed by the mentally ill. For those crimes the mentally ill commits, prison may not always be the right answer; instead, proper treatment and rehabilitation would be much better. In general, the statement has always been made that the…