Prisoners with Special Needs

Topics: Prison, Psychology, Penology Pages: 5 (1292 words) Published: February 10, 2014
Prisoners with Special Needs

In today’s society, jails are starting to incarcerate more and more special needs prisoners. For

example, the mentally ill, and substance abusing prisoners. This number is growing faster and faster

and will leave behind the prison system if something is not done to make sure that these prisoners are

treated the right way. Several people argue the fact that they are there because they committed a crime.

They also argue the point of why should they get special treatment and the other prisoners not receive

the same treatment when they all committed the same crime. A lot of people fail to realize that

these people function in a different way depending on their special needs. If they were all treated the

same way, the prisons and jails would be much worse off than they are now.

When a prisoner has a special needs problem, for example, a mental illness, or substance abuse,

they require special attention. This affects the state and federal systems in many ways. For example,

the State and Federal levels are having a difficult time funding and determining the needs of the

prisoners who require this extra attention. When incarcerating a special needs prisoner in a regular

facility, they will require extensively more attention than the typical inmate. This will end up taking attention away from where it might otherwise be needed during certain mentally ill prisoners may need 24 hour observation and documentation of what they are doing ins of their cell ("", 2011). This would take away from the duties of the officer in other areas that also need attention. This is why they should not be incarcerated with inmates that don’t have special needs issues. When it comes to costs, prison systems would be spending a lot of extra money that is not needed. For example, depending on the need of the prisoner, they may require attention of a doctor. Prisons have medical staff, but not the type of medical staff that is needed to watch and take care of these inmates. They need a medical staff that is specialized in working with special inmates ("Supervision Of Special Needs Inmates By Custody Staff", 2003). Without the right training for the specific need, the prisoner can cause disruption in the entire prison system which would take far too much staff to calm everything down. In the past, if a prisoner were to act up, they would stick them in isolation or strait jackets. This form of punishment is still used today in the prison systems. This form of punishment would not be reasonable for a person with special needs. This type of treatment would only make the situation worse. This brings us back to speculating if prisons pose the correct training or abilities to watch over a person that needs this kind of care. In conclusion, placing an inmate in a prison with other inmates that don’t have special needs, causes prison facilities, both state and federal, to have to deal with a lot more than they can handle, or a lot more than they are trained to handle. Not every person is the same; therefore, everyone has different needs that require different

attention. When in a prison, not everyone can receive the attention that is needed. This is the main

reason why special needs prisoners should not and are not incarcerated in the same prison with

prisoners that don't have a special need. If they are not cared for properly, their mental and physical

state will worsen. They will then become a bigger burden to society financially. When you incarcerate

these types of prisoners in facilities that cannot hold them, you are not setting them up for anything

else but failure when it comes to rehabilitation which is the main purpose of a person being

incarcerated. They need individual help. For example, counseling, treatment, medicine and various

strategies can help to rehabilitate them. If...

References: (2011). Retrieved from
Supervision of special needs inmates by custody staff. (2003). Retrieved from
-Law, Crime and Justice. (2011). Retrieved from
Mental Health Treatment in jails and prisons. (2008). Retrieved from
Drug aid program benefits mentally ill. (2009). Retrieved from
Care of the mentally ill in prison. (2007). Retrieved from
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