The Medicalization of Deviance and Overview of Mental Health Courts

1716 WordsJun 15, 20187 Pages
Medicalization of deviance in the United States (U.S.) over the years has expanded as medicine has become the main response to deviance through the use of therapeutic social control. Medicalization is referenced to in criminal justice as one of the ways of explaining deviance and is used to determine the responsibility of an offender. Deviance characterizes behaviors and actions that violate social norms and is seen as having an illness or a disease needing treatment. Therapeutic social control uses medicine and science as a treatment of deviance. Medicalization of deviance as stated by Horwitz (1981) is primarily used as a tool to identify the causes of deviance within an individual rather than in the faults of society (p. 750).…show more content…
It means that medical physicians can evaluate them to see if treatment rather punishment is necessary. Mental Health Courts Mental health courts provide the opportunities to eligible adult and juvenile mentally ill offenders to obtain: treatment (including psychiatric medication), counseling, substance abuse treatment, etc. instead of being incarcerated. To be eligible to participate, offenders must go through some mental screening, assessments, and participate in supervised treatment plans developed by the courts and mental health professionals. The goals of mental health courts are to provide offenders with mental illness treatment so they can be prevented from committing any repeated or future crimes. (Justice Center (Council of State Governments) & the United States Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2008, p.8) The courts seek to improve public safety in communities, increase the number mentally ill offenders receiving treatment, and improve the quality of life for offenders by providing housing and employment opportunities. (Justice Center (Council of State Governments) & the United States Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2008, p. 8). The use of mental health courts has been growing in the U.S., which has led to the discussion about how the mental health courts further promote medicalization of deviance; this is true. As outlined by Tammy Seltzer (2005), mental health courts have only been successful due to failures in the

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