Mentally Ill Inmates Essay

1656 Words 7 Pages
Wouldn’t it be completely irrational to sentence every mentally ill individual to jail purely because they suffered from a mental illness? Often, mentally ill people behave in an eccentric manner and allure the attention of police officers who do not differentiate the mentally ill from mentally stable people and immediately charge them with misdemeanors. There are approximately 300,000 inmates, with the number increasing every year, which suffer from a mental illness and do not receive proper treatment. Jails are not adequately equipped to care for mentally ill inmates, which can lead to an escalation of an inmate’s illness. Society has failed to provide enough social resources for citizens suffering from psychiatric illnesses in its …show more content…
Even when police officers have knowledge that the person may suffer from a mental illness they find it easier and more efficient to take the individual into custody rather than be “tied up for up to six to eight hours trying to get somebody hospitalized.”(Harrington) Because of an officers ignorance to the need that the mentally ill have for proper treatment and medication, the officers do not understand that when put into jail the individual will be deprived of necessary psychiatric services. Inmates who suffer from a serious brain disorder have no access to mental heath care services which can escalade their mental illness and may be potentially fatal. Timothy Williams, a man impaired from paranoid schizophrenia, was sentenced to jail and “during his last term in a Virginia penitentiary had tried to commit suicide by cutting his arms 200 times with a razor.”(Harrington) During this time Timothy was off his anti-psychotic medication. Without proper medication a person with a serious brain disorder can become violent and may lose their perception and self-awareness, dismantling their circumstances with reality. According to Rita Rubin, “On average, a seriously mental ill person in the USA is three times more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized.”(Rubin) People suffering from a mental illness do not need to be imprisoned; instead they should be

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