Mental Health and Recidivism
Refers to the discharge of over 85% of patients from state operated psychiatric hospitals b.
State mental hospitals began releasing thousands of patients with chronic and severe psychiatric disorders into communities that lacked resources to provide an alternative. 1.
Persons with mental illness were left unable to access appropriate treatment and social support services which led them to become homeless, impoverished and highly symptomatic. 2.
Puts them at risk for becoming involved in the criminal justice system III.
Incarceration among the Mentally Ill
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Approximately 24% of U.S. inmates are mentally ill (James & Glaze, 2006) b.
Only six out of ten inmates receive psychological treatment i.
Quality of treatment-poor
Incarceration exacerbates their symptoms
Challenges to the Criminal Justice Systen
Purpose- determine which offenders need psychological treatment and special accommodations ii.
Detection of mental illness
Strongest contributing factor- having a charted history of mental illness. 91.7% of offenders with charted history were accurately detected as mentally ill. 32.5% were detected when treatment histories were unknown(Teplin, 1990) 2.
The most common definition of serious mental illness incorporates Axis I disorders, more specifically-psychotic and mood disorders. The limited scope of this view causes problems with those inmates that may have Axis II disorders and if they go untreated many may act out in aggressive, self-harming and even suicidal behaviors. (Lurigio & Swartz, 2000). b.
Limited Resources and Treatment Programs
Budgetary constraints within the correctional system allow for minimal funding for mental health treatment and rehabilitative measures (Rice & Harris, 1997). a.
Constricted resources for mental health care results in limited staff and restricted program variability (Dvoskin & Spiers, 2004). b.
Due to the large number of mentally ill inmates prison psychologists and psychiatrists are burdened with a heavy caseload which restricts the effectiveness of treatment per individual c.
Limited staffing- restricts the availability of treatment groups and the number of participants. d.
Not all prisoners that need treatment get placed into mental health groups. e.
Limited beds in mental health units of some prisons.
Not every mentally ill offender can be placed in specialized accomodations ii.
Placed into general prison population where they get less individual treatment and support(Human Rights Watch, 2003). V.
Adjustment To Prison Life
Mentally ill offender’s psychological health, behavior and coping abilities are greatly affected by their medication. 2.
The use of psychotropic medication relieves many mental illnesses that precipitate behavior infractions. b.
Disruptive behavior is most likely to occur when mentally ill inmates are not taking their medicine. i.
Some reasons for this are: mentally ill inmates want to avoid unpleasant side effects of their medication or they may benefit from selling or bargaining their medication for amenities. ii.
Prison staff cannot forcibly administer medications without a court order (Jacoby & Kozie-Peak, 1997). ii.
Behavioral disturbances can sometimes agitate other inmates and result in aggression towards the individual causing the disturbance. 1.
Mentally ill inmates were twice as likely to sustain a fighting injury than nonmentally ill inmates (James & Glaze, 2006). iii.
Limited behavioral control makes mentally ill offenders appear weak and vulnerable which increases their chances of becoming victims of abuse and manipulation by the other inmates. iv.
Compared to nonmentally ill inmates, mentally ill inmates are more likely to be harmful to themselves, other inmates and correctional staff. Also more likely to be victims of abuse by other inmates 1....
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