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The Mentally Ill Prison Population

opinionated Essay
2012 words
2012 words
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The mentally ill prison population presents unique challenges for prisons systems. The United States has the highest rate of adult incarceration among developed countries with nearly 2.2 million currently in jails and prisons. According to Human Rights Watch, the staggering rate of incarcerated mentally ill is a result of under-funded, disorganized and fragmented mental health services (2006). Prison systems need to address the needs of the mentally ill population. As Reginald Wilkinson, Director of the Ohio Rehabilitation and Corrections noted, Correction agencies will have to deal with this population sooner or later. Prisoners have a constitutional right to mental health care while incarnated and many systems have been sued for what the plaintiffs consider to be lack of mental health service delivery” (Gaseau 2004). Gradually over the past several years as the number of mentally ill offenders has drastically increased some states such as Ohio and Maryland have recognized that this is a large population that needs to be better managed and have begun to reform the treatment programs and care for the mentally ill; however, not all states have been as proactive at addressing the problem. Dealing with the mentally ill prison population is another major problem that needs to tackle by all state and federal prisons as this population continues to grow. History The history of the mentally ill prison population can be traced back to 1827 in the heart of the Age of Enlightenment. Prior to 1827 that population of prisoners were treated the same as ordinary criminals, sometimes in deplorable conditions. The first prominent figure to begin leading reform in mentally ill prison population field was Louis Dwight. “Louis Dwight a Congregati... ... middle of paper ... ...o come up with strategies and programs to effectively deal with the issue. Some states, including Ohio and Massachusetts, have made proactive progress in treating the mentally ill inmates, but many still have a long way to go. With financially strapped states this will continue to be a challenge. Prisoners have a constitutional right to mental health care while incarcerated. By effectively treating mentally ill criminal’s society benefits as a whole and the community is safer. The prison is also safer for both the inmates and the prison officials. All state and federal correctional systems need to be proactive with confronting this problem to avoid law suits, protect the constitutional rights of the inmates, provide for safer prison population, and a safer society by developing and implementing an effective treatment plans for the mentally ill prison population.

In this essay, the author

  • States that the united states has the highest rate of adult incarceration among developed countries with nearly 2.2 million currently in jails and prisons.
  • Explains the history of the mentally ill prison population in the age of enlightenment.
  • Explains that dorothea dix is recognized as one of the most successful psychiatric reformers in american history.
  • Opines that prisons need to address the needs of the mentally ill population.
  • Opines that state and federal correctional systems need to be proactive with confronting the problem to avoid law suits and protect the constitutional rights of the inmates.
  • Explains that deinstitutionalization is the process of closing down hospitals in the united states. the problem was inadequate funding and commitment did not follow this change.
  • States that the united states has the highest rate of adult incarceration among developed countries with nearly 2.2 million currently in jails and prisons.
  • Argues that the ohio department of rehabilitation and corrections is one of the best systems in dealing with the mentally ill inmates.
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