The Criminal Justice System And Mental Illness

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Prior to taking this course, I generally believed that people were rightly in prison due to their actions. Now, I have become aware of the discrepancies and flaws within the Criminal Justice system. One of the biggest discrepancies aside from the imprisonment rate between black and white men, is mental illness. Something I wished we covered more in class. The conversation about mental illness is one that we are just recently beginning to have. For quite a while, mental illness was not something people talked about publicly. This conversation has a shorter history in American prisons. Throughout the semester I have read articles regarding the Criminal Justice system and mental illness in the United States. Below I will attempt to describe how the Criminal Justice system fails when they are encountered by people with mental illnesses. I wanted to look more into mental illness within prison walls because this affects me personally. I have a family member who suffers from bipolar disorder and similar to from what I have read in these articles, she has had numerous run ins with the police due to her illness. None of these encounters have resulted in her being arrested and sentenced, but numerous of these run ins have lead to the cops bringing her or suggesting to the family to bring her into the psychiatric centers. Now taking this course I have realized how lucky she is for not being arrested. As we have talked about in class women and hispanics are the the fastest growing population in prisons and she is both as well as having a mental disorder. Criminal Justice officials understand the situation in their prisons regarding mental health but have not taken action to fix it. For example, “According to the Department of Justice, abo... ... middle of paper ... what aw saw with the Community Mental Health Act. This act took the funds out of state run facilities and was promised to the communities, but these communities never saw that money. I would go as far as to assume that this money also found its way into law enforcement. I believe that the money for treatment was used for local police due to the fact that more of the policies resources were being used by people with mental illness. For example, USA today cites the story of one particular repeated offender “(the repeat offender) who has been arrested more than 100 times, ringing up more than $1 million in repeated arrest and retention related cost.” This is not a singular case, many mentally ill and emotionally disturbed cases tend to be repeat offenders. For example, the cops in my aunt 's area have gotten used to getting called to her home every couple of months.

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