Mentally Ill Offenders Essay

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The Treatment of Mentally Ill Offenders
There is a major issue with the mental health treatment in our society. With much of America increasingly being diagnosed with a mental illness, it is still a much stigmatized disease. It is estimated that one out of every five Americans have been diagnosed with a mental disorder ranging from mild to severe. Yet, the extent of therapy and support programs available for the mentally ill is considerably insufficient. Deinstitutionalization ultimately had a negative impact on our society and was responsible in criminalizing the mentally ill. It is essential that adequate care and rehabilitation be provided and made more easily accessible in the community to ensure the health and safety of the mentally ill
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On average, twenty percent of inmates in jails and fifteen percent of inmates in prisons have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness (Z. K. Torrey). In comparison, there are ten times less mentally ill individuals residing in psychiatric institutions than there are in prisons. The fact that the correctional system has become the primary treatment for the mentally ill should be deeply concerning to not only those affected by mental illness, but all of …show more content…
This is especially likely to happen to inmates suffering from mental illness, either as a form of punishment or for the protection of themselves and other inmates. Their time in solitary confinement can bring about a whole other set of complications and consequences. Being secluded from other people for an extended period of time will presumably exacerbate their current illness as well as produce additional problems with their mental health. Solitude for the mentally ill increases the already high possibility of these inmates committing acts of self-harm or even suicide. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of death in prisons and jails; the majority of these suicides are being carried out by inmates with untreated mental illness (Fuller Torrey).
Ultimately, the correctional system is not designed to be a therapeutic environment; although there is mental health treatment available for some inmates, correctional institutions do not have the adequate staffing nor resources to properly treat the mentally ill at that level

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