Incarceration of The Mentally Ill Essay

Incarceration of The Mentally Ill Essay

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The United States criminal justice system has been continuously increasing incarceration among individuals who suffer from a sever mental illness. As of 2007 individuals with severe mental illness were over twice as likely to be found in prisons than in society (National Commission of Correctional Health Care, 2002, as cited in Litschge &Vaughn, 2009). The offenses that lead to their commitment in a criminal facility, in the majority of cases, derive from symptoms of their mental illness instead of deviant behavior. Our criminal justice system is failing those who would benefit more from the care of a psychiatric rehabilitation facility or psychiatric hospital by placing them in correctional facilities or prisons.
Mental Illness
The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2000) explains the complexity of defining a mental disorder, “although this manual provides a classification of mental disorders, it must be admitted that no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of "mental disorder". The concept of mental disorder, like many other concepts in medicine and science, lacks a consistent operational definition that covers all situations” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, Introduction, para.29). For the purpose of this paper the mental illnesses which are referred are categorized by those identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which include sever mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, dissociative disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, along with personality disorders. The Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation (2009) explains the complexity of mental disorders; someone can display symptoms of a mental illness over the co...

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.... The mentally ill offender treatment and crime reduction act of 2004: problems and prospects. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 20(4), 542-558. doi:10.1080/14789940802434675
National Association of Social Workers. (2008). NASW Code of Ethics (Guide to the Everyday Professional Conduct of Social Workers). Washington, DC: NASW.
Pustilnik, A. C. (2005). Prisons of the mind: social value and economic inefficiency in the criminal justice response to mental illness. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 96(1), 217-265. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
The Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation. (2009). What is Psychiatric Disability and
Mental Illness? Retrieved from

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