Psychiatric Disorders in the Criminal Justice System Essay

Psychiatric Disorders in the Criminal Justice System Essay

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Psychiatric Disorders in the Criminal Justice System Prison population has increased by over 50% since the Richmond Report
on deinstitutionalisation (Australian Bureau of Statistics) with 74%
of prisoners in NSW suffering from a psychiatric disorder (Corrections
Health Service). This has caused great concerns with mental illness in
the criminal justice system. Mental institutions were ‘warehouses’ for
the mentally ill and failed to meet basic human rights requirements
and treatment. Yet as a result of institutions closing, more mentally
ill people began filling the prison system. Something needs to be
done about mental illness in prisons and there can be two possible
solutions. Firstly, mentally ill people who have committed crimes are
still criminals therefore treatment that is required can be fulfilled
while in prison. Also, prison staff are uneducated in areas of mental
health and illness, so staff should be well equipped and educated to
deal with such people and adequate diagnosis must be given and early
rather than later. Treatment in prison can be described through many
of the perspectives. The second option is to never allow mentally ill
people to be in prison, through proper diagnosis and treatment which
can be described through many of the perspectives in specialised care
and rehabilitation.

As mental institutions closed patients were left to fend for
themselves and to choose what their needs and treatments were, and
since many people could not, or did not want to, recognise their
illness (‘agnosia’) many patients ceased medication...


... middle of paper ...


... Mentally ill offenders are ebing wrongly
held in prisons. British Medical Journal. May 08 2004

Reports:

* Federal Bureau of Prisons Central Office, National Criminal
Justice Reference Service, US Department of Justice. Mental
Illness and the Criminal Justice System.

* Sentencing Project. Mentally Ill Offenders in the Criminal Justice
System: An Analysis and Prescription. Jan 2002

Newspapers:

* Cresswell, A and Kearney, S (2005) Calls to get mentally ill out
of jails. The Advertiser. 16 July.

* Cronin, D. (2005)Mental health crisis unit to be built into new
prison. Canberra Times. 31 May

* Wyhnhausen,. E (2005). Penal prescription a poor cure. The
Australian. 16 July

Television:

* PBS Frontline, The New Asylums, Four Corners. Monday 20 June 2005

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