The Criminalization of the Mentally Ill Essay

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The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and of that over sixty percent of jail inmates reported having a mental health issue and 316,000 of them are severely mentally ill (Raphael & Stoll, 2013). Correctional facilities in the United States have become the primary mental health institutions today (Adams & Ferrandino, 2008). This imprisonment of the mentally ill in the United States has increased the incarceration rate and has left those individuals medically untreated and emotionally unstable while in jail and after being released. Better housing facilities, medical treatment and psychiatric counseling can be helpful in alleviating their illness as well as upon their release. This paper will
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The deinstitutionalization of state mental hospitals has left many individuals untreated and in the community where there come under police scrutiny due to their odd behavior, that is a manifestation of their illness. Majority of mentally ill offenders have not committed a serious crime and are subjected to inappropriate arrest and incarceration (Soderstrom, 2008). This new policy has become quite a concern to the fact that the correctional environment has proven to show no positive results in the mental health of the offender during their time of incarceration or upon their release date and thereafter (Soderstrom, 2008). Another major factor is the lack of medical services in the prisons and jails. Many of the mentally ill are retained in the criminal justice system without the appropriate treatment needed because of the lack of trained staff in the mental illness field (Markowitz, 2011). There is usually limited access to treatment programs while incarcerated and a high risk of decomposition and deterioration (Rock, 2001). In a Frontline documentary on mental illness researchers estimated that about two thirds of the inmates in state facilities who did receive counseling or psychotropic drugs did not necessarily specialize in providing mental health services; leaving us to believe when the adequate treatment is being distributed is it being properly

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