Essay on Prisoners and The Development of Severe Mental Illness

1375 Words 6 Pages
The vast majority of prisoners who suffer from severe mental illness are not receiving the proper mental health treatment necessary. The lack of attention allocated to the sanity of prisoners with mental illness is a haunting reality given that these people eventually return to the free world following their time in prison. Due to the punitive tendencies of the prison system, prison will likely only exacerbate people's preexisting mental illnesses, making them susceptible to recidivism, or further engaging in criminal behavior. This paper will examine the links between the prison system’s mentality to punish rather than rehabilitate its prisoners and therefore the lack of mental health care or rehabilitation the prisons provide for inmates with severe mental illness. This paper then considers the ways in which a merging of agendas between the prison system and the mental health institution could result in prisoners with mental illness receiving the care they need to return to society in better mental health than when they entered.
A survey of prison guards inside 13 Florida jails made visible the punitive attitudes correctional officers hold regarding inmates in general, with or without a mental illness. Because the officers believed them to be dangerous, they tended to distance themselves from these prisoners. When in contact with the inmates, they believed it was their duty to focus on punishing them rather than engaging in rehabilitative efforts (Cook & Lane, 2013).…

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