Community Mental Health Act Of 1963 Essay

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Introduction Prior to the mid-1960 virtually all mental health treatment was provided on an inpatient basis in hospitals and institutions. The Community Mental Health Act of 1963 was established with its primary focus on deinstitutionalizing mentally ill patients, and shutting down asylums in favor of community mental health centers. It was a major policy shift in mental health treatment that allowed patients to go home and live independently while receiving treatment, (Pollack & Feldman, 2003). As a result of the Act, there was a shift of mentally ill persons in custodial care in state institutions to an increase of the mentally ill receiving prosecutions in criminal courts. The shift is attributed to the unexpected clinical needs of this new outpatient population, the inability of community mental health centers to meet these needs, and the changes in mental health laws (Pollack & Feldman, 2003). Thousands of mentally ill people flowing in and out of the nation 's jails and prisons. In many cases, it has placed the mentally ill right back where they started locked up in facilities, but these jail and prison facilities are ill-equipped to properly treat and help them. In 2006 the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that there were; 705,600 mentally ill inmates in state prisons, 78,000 in federal prisons, and …show more content…

The front line of that process is the police, who frequently determine whether someone will enter the mental health system or the criminal justice system. Even police who are equipped and inclined to recognize mental illness and respond appropriately, however, find themselves constrained to redirect the mentally ill into the criminal justice system because of a lack of alternatives. The local law enforcement can redirect non-violent mentally ill in crisis to the clinic for assessment and assistance instead of

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