Essay about Mental Health And The Corrections System

1443 Words Apr 21st, 2016 null Page
Topic Overview
Mental health in the corrections system has been a persistent problem since the dawn of incarceration. For a long period, before we knew about mental health disorders, people suffering from these diseases often ended up in prisons. In the 1840’s, a woman named Dorothea Dix began to investigate the treatment of mentally ill in the prison system. She soon urged for the creation of institutions that would house and treat mentally ill, rather than condemn them to jail cells. Dix succeeded, and up until the 1950’s most mentally ill individuals were held in mental health institutions. However, these institutions were often understaffed, underfunded, and many kept patients in poor living conditions. Therefore, beginning in the 1950’s, we began to see the pendulum shift back toward the incarceration model. As mental institutions were shut down, mentally ill individuals were cast back into the correctional system. This movement is known as the “criminalization of mental illness.”
In our world today, we know a lot more about mental health disorders and how to treat them. There are more options for treatment and many disorders are managed with medication. Yet, mental health issues are still present in our correctional system. The numbers vary, but an estimated 16% of all people under the control of the corrections system suffer from a severe mental illness (SMI) (Fisher, Silver, Wolff, 2006; Osher, D’Amora, Plotkin, Jarrett, Eggleston, 2012; Pillai et al.,…

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