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Deinstitutionalization In Prisons

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Deinstitutionalization In Prisons
Until the 1970s, public psychiatric hospitals were responsible for treating and housing mentally ill citizens. However, as a response to the deinstitutionalization movement – this is, a national campaign that urged the federal government to shut down mental health facilities and thus “deinstitutionalize” the mentally ill – prisons and jails became the new de facto mental health asylums. In 2015, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center, in 44 of the 50 states, “the largest prison or jail held more people with serious mental illness than the largest psychiatrist hospital.” Therefore, in a country where incarcerating people with mental challenges seems to be a more viable option than treatment, it is inevitable to question the policies and …show more content…
prisons in the 1980's… to failure to account for the effects of the collapse of the state mental hospital system,” explaining that “beyond simple overcrowding…the perceived influx of former mental patients into the prison population presents special management needs that prisons are unable to meet and disrupts the programming of more normal offenders.” In other words, the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and the massive allocation of them among prisons and jails has not only worsened their sanity, as many experts suggest, but it has also affected the efficiency of the incarceration …show more content…
Davis argues that it is unfashionable to imply that mentally ill people are disproportionately involved in criminal or violent acts” (174). He also points out that the media, “by selective reporting,” have exaggerated the crime rates of mentally ill people and therefore have contributed to the perception of this group as a threat to society, “further maligning an already stigmatized group” (174). The author explains that methodological problems in research have shaped the widespread belief that mentally ill people are more dangerous. His findings are that “psychiatric patients tended to get arrested at a higher rate”; factors associated with offenses by mentally ill people were the same as those associated with offenses by members of the general public”; and that “the problems experienced were likely a function of the system, with less accessible community resources contributing to a diversion of some mentally ill patients into the criminal justice system.” Based on his research, David concluded that the answer to whether mentally ill people are more dangerous is uncertain. He expanded, saying that “If one assumes that psychiatric patients are being arrested at higher rates, one cannot simplistically infer that psychiatric patients constitute a menace to

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