The recent increase in emergency 9-1-1 calls involving mentally ill persons has heightened the awareness of the Criminal Justice System. Across the nation, law enforcement encounters with mentally ill persons have become more frequent, and the use of deadly force against mentally ill persons has increased. Since the deinstitutionalization of the mental health system, law enforcement officials have been tasked with controlling deviant and sometimes criminal behavior of persons who suffer from mental illness. As a result, law enforcement agencies have implemented crisis intervention training (CIT) and diversion tactics due to the numerous challenges faced when serving the mentally ill. Major deficiencies in the mental health system and State legislations have hindered progressive efforts towards assisting mentally ill persons. With the dramatic consequences associated with untreated mental illness, it is certain that law enforcement officers will experience an encounter requiring knowledge, specialized training, and the ability to build collaborative partnerships.
Suicide among police officers is a dramatic example of what can happen when those entrusted with the protection of others fail to protect and care for themselves (Suicide and the Police Officer, 2006). Police officers tend to create an identify for themselves in order to seem powerful, in-charge, and unwavering in the line of duty, when in reality the persona that they create can lead to officers breaking down physically and mentally (McCord 368). After an officer joins the police force, they are expected to accept the fact that there will be violence and trauma in their line of work. There are no mental health checkpoints that officers are required to meet in order to continue working in these stressful conditions, forcing
Mental health and the criminal justice system have long been intertwined. Analyzing and understanding the links between these two subjects demands for a person to go in to depth in the fields of criminology, sociology, psychology, and psychiatry, because there are many points of view on whether or not a person’s criminal behavior is due to their mental health. Some believe that an unstable mental state of mind can highly influence a person’s decision of committing criminal actions. Others believe that mental health and crime are not related and that linking them together is a form of discrimination because it insinuates that those in our society that suffer from poor mental health are most likely to become a criminal due to their
There are cases in which police officers are found dealing drugs such as bhang or methamphetamines or officers end up shooting mentally ill people they have been called to help restrain. In the latter, case proper training on how to
Many factors can contribute to this problem the police force is having with police officers abuse of power, one of them being the psychological health of police officers where they aren’t fit to serve and protect the people they sworn to protect. After the shooting of an unarmed woman at Capitol Hill, The National Allegiance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) started what is to be the most Comprehensive Police Officer mental health program in the country, this 40 hours crisis intervention program is available in 45 states as well as the district of Columbia, excluded are the state of Delaware, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas and Rhode Island. Needless to say a few departments are working hard to improve the quality and integrity of their officers to eliminate the raising percentage of officers committing abuse to those who they sworn to protect.
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).
“The Memphis Police Department, CIT are police-based pre booking approach with specially trained officers that provide first line response to calls involving a person with mental illness and who acts as liaisons to the mental health system. Rooted in the problem solving approach, the Memphis Model aims to address the issues underlying the reason for the call than simply incapacitating the individual and removing him or her for the community.”(Draine,J.,Ottati,V.,Schaefer,M.Watson,A.2008. pg.361) Many of the models around the
Furthermore, there are a number of barriers that prevent police from effectively dealing with people who have a mental illness. These include gaps in the community mental health service, and mix feelings about the nature of the responsibility when officers are responding to mental illness calls (Adelman, 2003). Barriers that are involve is, the inadequate advance information, when a situation arise police dispatchers do not ask for more information of what to expect when arriving to the scene as well any specific detail about the mental ill person such as, if the person has previously contacted the police before. Not
Although many believe that law enforcement agents are usually men and women that are emotionless individuals that do not sympathize and feel what the ‘wrongly’ accused victims have felt, yet they have not seen the silent side of the effects being in the force against crime, leaving a deep impact in officers and such. PTSD in the body of police officers isn’t widely known, but it is a tolling factor in their career. This is a problem that is slowly taking surge, much like a tumor or a virus.
Frighteningly, last year the UK police dealt with almost 300,000 incidents involving people suffering mental health illnesses! That isn’t to say of course that all of those incidents involved someone breaking the law. Quite often, when a sufferer of mental illness goes into crisis, the first port of call is the police. Are they to become the “Mental Health Police”?
Mental Illness has been prevalent all throughout our history from Isaac Newton to Abraham Lincoln to Sylvia Plath and so on. These illnesses can be as minor as a slight bipolar disorder or as severe as schizophrenia. In recent years, mental illnesses are becoming more prevalent in our criminal justice systems than anywhere else. Mental illness is becoming an association with crime and based on the information that has been found, this paper will attempt to further define the problem of mental illness within our criminal justice system and offer alternatives or insights as to how to possibly help with this problem.
According to Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Gugliemi, “they don't track PTSD numbers, Nationwide, it's estimated as many as 18 percent of police are suffering from PTSD”(Doane). He once described it as, "a hidden enemy. We don't really know it. We don't really understand it," Gugliemi explained. Leaving officers untrained in the matter of mental health illness has led to many officers not getting the proper care and treatment individually. Some may argue that counseling is given, and that police officers are able to go to these sessions. However, the “counseling [offered in the force] is not mandatory” (Doane). Making counseling mandatory would remove the stigma of asking for help, and would also [hopefully] help the officers who are dealing with or have experienced on the job traumatization. Asking for help can be very degrading, and could make someone feel weak in the eyes of society. Having a shrink/therapist is frowned upon and opens doors to nasty comments and hushed whispers. You might even be labeled crazy or something just has to be wrong with you, why else would you have one? For police, their job is high demand and their emotions are often tucked away as soon as they step into their uniform. Mandatory counseling will inform and help police officers and their superiors who have preexisting trauma, dealing with, or is being exposed around possible situations that can lead to
Throughout history laws and regulations have formed for society to abide by to avoid a world full of absolute chaos. Ultimately leading to the creation of police officers who would enforce these laws and regulations. However, this is one of the world’s most dangerous and stressful professions. Mainly because police officers are expected to put their lives on the line every single day to protect and serve society. Even though this is the case, becoming a police officer has always been a goal of mine. Edward Conlon book called, “Blue Blood” provides amazing insight on what it’s like to be a police officer. This is because Edward Conlon was previously a police officer and based this book around his personal experiences while he was on the job. Since this book is based around first-hand experience and written as they were happening it made me enjoy the book even more. Mainly because these events weren 't over exaggerated. However, since the book is based around stories within stories, I sometimes found it difficult to follow. This book presented many examples of issues that the police face daily and showed that sometimes these issues aren’t easy to handle. Three specific issues that Edward Conlon faced as a police officer that relates to my issues in policing class is dealing with the mentally ill, using discretion, and police training.
Linda A. Teplin says that “police involvement with mentally ill persons is grounded in two common law principles: (1) The power and responsibility of the police to protect the safety and