The Mental Illness Of Schizophrenia And Substance Abuse Essay

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As incarceration rates in the United Stated have reached record levels, there has also been an increase in the number of offenders incarcerated that are afflicted with severe mental disorders (Litschge & Vaughn, 2009). Diversion programs have since been developed and serve as alternatives to prosecution and incarceration for mentally ill offenders. Some may present the argument that a form of diversion programming may be appropriate for James, who has a history of paranoid schizophrenia and substance abuse. While James has a history of mental illness, he also has a criminal record and is currently facing felony charges for assaulting a police officer. When determining the appropriate treatment for James, it is important to consider individual characteristics and the limitations of diversion programs. Although James has a reported history of paranoid schizophrenia, it is also clear that he has a substance use disorder. While the argument can be made that he assaulted the officer as the result of a schizophrenic episode or hallucination, it is also important to consider whether or not he was intoxicated at the time of the incident. When an individual is intoxicated, they are not in their right state-of-mind and their sense of judgment may be impaired. They may act impulsively or in an aggressive manner, similarly to an individual experiencing a hallucination. As James faces felony charges, it can be argued that deferring prosecution eliminates offender accountability.

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