Mental Illness In Prison

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By definition, mental illness is “an affliction with a mental disease or mental condition which is manifested by a disorder or disturbance in behavior, feeling, thinking, or judgment to such an extent that the person afflicted requires care, treatment and rehabilitation” (Hall, Miraglia, Lee, 2011). This definition of mental illness provides a broad overview of what many individuals in our society are dealing with every day. Although it may be seen as a problem in mainstream society, it is often overlooked in prison. Upwards of 61 percent of prisoners who committed a violent offense suffer from mental illness (CITE). This highlights the fact that mental illness is a huge problem in prison that needs to be dealt with. Over time, mental illness …show more content…
For instance, in a study conducted by Dvoskin and Spiers (2004), they found that “In 1998, the United States Department of Justice estimated that over 283,000 mentally ill offenders were behind bars” (Dvoskin & Spiers, 2004). This seems like a very high number of the total prison population. In fact, this correlates to as many as nineteen percent of male and thirty percent of female inmates being able to be classified as having a mental disorder (Dvoskin & Spiers, 2004). Similar research has been conducted across the Atlantic Ocean in England. In a study conducted by Birmingham, Gray, Mason, and Grubin (2000), they found that the Institute of Psychiatry in London found that over a third of sentenced male prisoners suffer from mental illness, including substance abuse while nearly two thirds of those awaiting trial faced the same issues (Birmingham, Gray, Mason, & Grubin, 2000). This is a startling fact that came from the study that is known to be the most comprehensive and reliable indicator of psychiatric morbidity among prisoners to date (Birmingham et al., 2000). Coming from a well-known journal and being backed up by saying that it is one of the most comprehensive studies to date helps to bring this topic to reality. Back in the United States, many more studies have been completed to date. In one of these, Galanek (2013) came to the conclusion that in the United States, we house a little over two million individuals in jails and prisons (Galanek, 2013). Among these individuals in jail and prison, “A large number can meet the criteria for psychiatric illness according the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association” (Galanek, 2013). Of these two million of so inmates of prisons and jails, Galanek (2013) found that fifteen to twenty percent of them have a severe psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major

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