The Effects Of Incarceration On Psychiatric Disorders Presents Special Challenges

The Effects Of Incarceration On Psychiatric Disorders Presents Special Challenges

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Understanding the impact of incarceration on psychiatric disorders presents special challenges. According to the Public Citizen’s Health Group and Treatment Advocacy Center (2014), the United States state prisons and county jails are holding as many as ten times more mentally ill inmates than state psychiatric hospitals. Recent studies provide evidence of the increase in frequency and severity rates of mental health problems in jails and prisons. This research is important because it provides qualitative examples of the systemic barriers to care of inmates who face mental health issues in detention centers. Such barriers show correlation to higher suicide rates amongst incarcerated inmates. These barriers included: lack of availability of continuous mental health services within the facility, lack of availability of qualified mental health professionals to provide services to mental health inmates, lack of community accessibility for crises and extensive mental health services.
Suicide in jails and prisons is a serious health problem. The World Health Organization
estimates that one suicide attempt occurs approximately every three seconds, and one completed suicide occurs approximately every minute in jails and prisons throughout the United States (US) (Reference). And, consequently, reducing suicide has become an important health goal in jails and prisons across the US. Even though not all inmate suicides are preventable, many are, and a logical reduction of these deaths can occur if comprehensive mental health services are executed in correctional facilities.
Multiple studies have shown that approximately half of all inmate suicides are committed by inmates who are seriously mentally ill (Reference). According the Bland...


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...o follow up and make sure the patients receive care once they leave the hospitals even if court ordered for inpatient treatment. These inmates are often repeat offenders because they do not follow up with mental health treatment. However, mentally ill individuals should be able to access treatment before they become dangerous or commit a crime, not after. A proven way to do this is to utilize assisted outpatient treatment (AOT). In a study, AOT has been demonstrated to be very effective in reducing the arrest rate of mentally ill persons (Reference). The success of the AOT is credited to the process, which requires selected seriously mentally ill persons to take medication under court order as a condition for living in the community. If an inmate becomes non-compliant then the inmate can be taken back to prison, but a facility that treats mental health illness.




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