Mental Illness and Prison

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Mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, mood, feelings and even their ability to function in everyday life. Mental illness, as with any serious medical illness; cannot be overcome through willpower. It is not related to the intelligence or character of a person. Mental illness has been documented since the ancient times. There are notes, although limited, in an Egyptian document that describes disoriented states of attention and emotions. Ancient Indian, Chinese, Greek, and many other civilizations all have similar documentation about mental illness. A lot of methods were used in ancient times by different civilizations to “treat” or “cure” the mental illnesses of their people. Magical spells, herbs and ointments, acupuncture, and even hallucinogens were used as part of the healing ritual, a pretty advanced method considering the era that they were in. Over time, people started to study mental disorders hoping to find a way to treat it. Mental institutions/hospitals were built to help people with mental illness get treated and lead a better life. But, with our economy many of the hospitals were shut down and mentally ill people who were caught by the police doing something wrong because of their illness were sent to prisons instead of mental hospitals. Prisons do not have adequate resources for treatment of this disease. They are designed to rehabilitate and release prisoners back to society. Prisoners are required to follow-up with parole officers and receive other types of non-medical support to rejoin society. However, when a mentally ill patient gets released from prison, they are not provided any support groups or counselors to follow-up on their care. This can cause a relapse of the behavior and ultimately, a return to prison. Mentally ill patients should receive treatment in mental hospitals, not in prisons.

Prisons do not have enough resources for the treatment on mental disorders. There are medical personnel...
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