Mental health in the criminal justice system


The appropriate treatment is a vital condition of the life of mentally ill people be it offenders in prison or free citizens. Mainly, the problem of creating proper conditions for this group of population raises financial and moral questions. Improper treatment of mentally ill people can lead to complications and sufferings, while providing necessary health services to all prisoners is quite costly and makes the U.S. spend millions of dollars yearly. In order to avoid such expenses and not hurt people on purpose, it is important to analyze the position of the mentally ill from the very beginning, when they meet the police. Since the first encounter with the police and during long time of incarceration, the mentally ill are vulnerable and can lead themselves to self-harm. Therefore, timely identification of the problems of prisoner is the primary task of the justice system. More about it you can read at high quality essays .

Training of police officers, prison guardians, and other representatives of the justice sphere to recognize severe and acute psychological problems at once are crucial skills that contribute to stability and fairness of the justice system. At the same time, special regulations and rehabilitation programs are essential to support mentally ill prisoners and treat them fairly. The aim of this paper is to show that the criminal justice system of the country is responsible for mental health of prisoners, including all the complications that can happen in jail. Nowadays, prison is the main organization that neglects many of the needs that the mentally ill demand and should get according to the constitution. Although people with serious mental illnesses display many risk factors that are common to all criminals, they still raise a number of particular issues for the government and justice system. In many ways, the criminal justice system stays a great provider of mental health services to citizens. According to numerous resources, 50% of the U.S. prisoners suffer from some mental disorders. Mainly, such statistics predetermine insufficient number of the resources that are necessary for their descent treatment. In addition, “solitary confinement”, “longer sentences” are inappropriate in many cases and can be a serious threat to human lives. The status of such prisoners should be associated with various correctional facilities provided by the government. Those who suffer from various psychological disorders of anxiety, affective, thought, substance abuse, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression cannot be kept in the same conditions as healthy people, but need special treatment and specialists’ supervision. Anxiety, anti-social behavior, and post-traumatic stress disorders are those that occur among prisoners quite often. Moreover, in 36.3% of occurrences bipolar disorder led to recidivism, in 22.5%, severe depression caused repeated crime, and in 22.5% , the reason was connected with psychosis or schizophrenia. At the same time, the most common crimes for such prisoners were related to drug-trafficking. The regularities of psychological diseases show higher rates among females in contrast to males, more occurrences of mental health disorders among Caucasians and higher rates of thoughts disorders among African Americans and Hispanics. Therefore, these groups of population fall under the most common risk of being discriminated and abused by improper treatment. It is also important to mark out the age under 34 as the one that is more likely to be characterized by various mental illnesses and disorders. Therefore, the possibility of complications caused by improper treatment in prison becomes even more serious issue since the consequences would possibly suppress people for a longer period of life. Mentally ill offenders usually have poor physical health, which leads to high levels of unemployment, homelessness, hospitalizations, physical, or s*xual abuse. Therefore, there are many factors that predetermine their singular time and repeated incarceration. These reasons deserve particular attention because they can help find out the best programs and solutions to support such people. Being incarcerated once, they usually get less possibility for the necessary health treatment, become isolated, abused, and are more likely to commit suicide… or be s*xually abused by other inmates. The criminal justice system needs improvements in many aspects when it concerns the mentally ill. To begin with, it is necessary to find out the most appropriate way to distinguish between mental health versus disability in order to improve the defense for those who really need it. Mental health issues pervade in the justice system in many ways. Inaccuracy in understanding these notions causes much unjustified cruelty towards the mentally ill. In addition, there are good reasons to re-consider the functions of the criminal justice system and their duty to deal with housing, retribution, rehabilitation, and deterrence of the mentally ill. Probably, such questions should become the concern of a different organization. The length of the incarceration of the mentally ill is five months longer that of those who are healthy. Such a decision is quite disputable not only for the economic reasons that demand more finances from the country, but also for the issues of usefulness for the society and the imprisoned. The additional evidences are necessary to prove that lengthening of the period cannot be changed for treatment out of prison. Considering the evidences that mental health services and psychiatrists are inadequate during the period of incarceration, it is necessary to pay more attention to the skills of the specialists who work with the mentally ill. The reports show that in 2009, 65% of the inmates with severe psychiatric symptoms received no mental health treatment. The other surveys reported 33% of the mentally ill were sent to correctional facilities and 17.5% of the prisoners received mental health services in local jails. The reports have shown that the division between those who received the treatment and those who did not demanded strict criteria. Even though it is necessary to provide all the mentally ill with the support that they need, timetable of the attendance and conversations should be also overviewed more attentively to divide the available treatment among all population members fairly. Some of the detention conditions also need changes. Mainly, solitary confinement and segregation are not always appropriate for the mentally ill. For instance, such conditions worsen symptoms of anxiety, bipolar and other disorders, and cause psychotic episodes. . Unfair treatment of the mentally ill is the indicator of the morality level of the nation. However, it is also important to keep the economy of the country equally supportive for all groups of people in all spheres. For this reason, it is essential to investigate the issue of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system carefully. The research focused on the life of mentally ill offenders prior to their incarceration showed that 75% of them were unemployed, which made 28% receive illegal income. Hence, it is important to put efforts to create more working places for this population to make them not only contribute to the state treasury, but stay busy and provided with the things that are necessary for living. Mentally ill prisoners are more likely to be homeless, receive public assistance before incarceration, and live with only one parent in childhood. For these reasons, it is important to pay attention to the life of the mentally ill in the society and search for the programs to support them, provide jobs, housing etc. Furthermore, it is necessary to re-evaluate the treatment of these people in prisons in order to avoid worsening of their health state and deaths. Mental health courts and jail diversion programs are special interventions that emphasize the peculiar needs of those who suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar and depressive disorders. The fact that a mentally ill prisoner costs “three times much as other inmates” is the main reason to search for new approaches to an effective treatment of these people. In order to find out the best approaches, it is vital to get a better understanding of the modifiable and unchangeable factors that place people with serious mental illness at risk for criminal involvement. Among such, not only the mental illness is essential, but also the tendency for criminal thinking, antisocial behavior and disposition, substance abuse, and various traumas. At the same time, understanding such illnesses as a reaction to stress in an unhealthy ways, it is possible to define the best social support systems for the mentally ill before crime commitment or after release. In addition, the intervention programs should target many issues, including medication treatment, developing alternatives to criminal thinking, providing supports for stability, decreasing substance abuse and trauma disposition, reducing stress. Mental illness can be defined as one of the primary factors that contribute to person’s involvement into the criminal justice system. The chosen population undoubtedly needs particular attention from criminal justice representatives and mental health specialists. With the aim to improve living conditions for people with disorders, it is of great importance to focus mainly on their safety and guarantees of the basic necessary treatment. However, due to the high level of expenses that are necessary for such privilegization, additional re-evaluation of the disorders and treatment needs is necessary. With the limited abilities to provide finances for the imprisoned, prolonged sentences and solitary ward rooms can be omitted. At the same time, keeping them together with the inmates who have more healthy reactions to environmental conditions is not always possible. Hence, the choice should depend on the peculiarities of the situation, but stay maximally beneficial for both sides.

 
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