The Importance Of Prisons In The Criminal Justice System

1640 Words 7 Pages
Nowadays, close to 50% of the prison population have mental health problems, and it has become one of the serious social problems in the U.S. After the federal program of deinstitutionalizing psychiatric facilities began in1960’s, the government closed down most of the mental health hospitals. Ever since then, the number of prisoners keeps increasing every year. Mentally ill prisoners usually carry many problems in prison. For example, it is hard for them to follow the prison rules; therefore, they are more likely to be charged of facility rule violation. Many of mentally ill offenders and prisoners have been struggling with their mental health problems, but the U.S justice system seems not being very supportive about them. Even prison guards …show more content…
As I mentioned in previous paragraph, the U.S legal system offers mental health court; however, many of them are not able to use this system because they do not meet the requirements. Since many of the prisoners are not able to use this system, prisons should be providing treatment for them. The new study found that it is important for prisons to work with outside agencies to explore alternatives to formal criminal justice interaction with mentally ill. The study also suggests that people in criminal justice system should increase knowledge and skills of handling mentally ill offenders and prisoners; therefore, they will be able to develop a support system. Some facilities have been giving an opportunity for those who are dealing with mental health problems. According to U.S Department of Justice, 13% of states inmates receiving therapy and 10% receiving psychotropic medication. Majority of those inmates are receiving therapy and counseling and only few of them are receiving 24 hours mental health care in a specialized confinement facility. It is also important for criminal justice system to provide a support system for mentally ill offenders after they are released. Because they finish their jail time, it does not mean that they are fully recovered from mental health problems. According to Los Angeles county jail, 90 percent of mental ill inmates are repeat …show more content…
Also, prison guards have claimed that sometime mentally ill prisoners act quite dangerous. According to the article “Violence Behind Bars”, “Something is happening that’s causing inmates to act out in quite serious and dangerous ways, sand stuff do not have that situation under control”. (Grisson). Even though they want to give them treatments, if mentally ill prisoners may be threaten to prison guards or other inmates, the only thing they can do is to place them into a cell and separate from other inmates. For example, 18 years old mentally ill prisoner in Arizona jail attacked four prison guards that resulted in one hospitalized with server injure. According to the prison employee, this prisoner had never shown violence behavior before. Everything that happened was unexpected. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said, "We never know what is going to happen in jail, especially in the psychiatric ward" (The Independent Study). There are many situations that prison guards cannot even control mental health prisoners. For this kind of situation, no one knows the solution. Not only mentally ill prisoners suffer in prion, but also prisons guards suffer to deal with prisoners who have mental heal

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