Quality of Health Care and Services for the Mentally Ill in Prisons

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Only One-third of all mentally ill prisoners are treated for their illness or disorder as other mentally ill prisoners receive little to no treatment or even diagnosis at all. Another big problem with the quality of health care and services in prison for the mentally ill is insufficient supplies that are needed for these prisoners. In 2008, it was estimated that American's prisons cost over $50 billion dollars to run and operate, that is also the of year of the huge financial crisis. Health care has increased in price in prisons because of the increase of mentally ill prisoners that need much assistance in their illness or disorder. From that year on, as much as $3.7 billion dollars have been cut from the prison systems. Health services funding at prisons is the area that is hurt the most from these government cut backs (Wallace, 2012). This means the supplies and staff needed to give quality health care services has decreased for mentally ill prisoners in prison.

Mentally ill women have different health care needs and services than men. However, because there is such as small amount of women in prisons, the health care needs and services can be too high and the quality of those services can be poor (Teplin, Abram & McClelland, 1997). Courts have ordered prisons to offer the same about health care and services to women prisons as they do for men prisons; however, they are still very poor quality. A study was done to look at the health care and services from women prisoners with mentally ill disorders. In the study women who did have a mental illness or disorder found 47.5% were schizophrenic or manic episodes. 15.2% of women suffered from depression. What the study found was only 23.5% of all women prisoners with mental illness or disorder were reserving some from of treatment. The study compared health care treatment between male and female prisons with mental illnesses or disorders, females received significantly fewer mental health care services (23.5% vs. 35.5%) when the same study was conducted with men prisoners with mental disorders (Teplin, Abram & McClelland, 1997).

Overpopulation in prison and privatized prisons has been on the increase in the last decade. Since 2000, the population in prisons in the United States has increased to 15% while the over all population has only increased at 6.4%. But over all crime in the United States has decreases since 1990 and is at the lowest in crime rate ever.

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