Confinement is considered to be harmful to an inmate’s mental health. Lengthier stays in solitary have been associated with more mental health symptoms, resulting in extreme emotional and behavioral consequences. Depending on the individual and the length of the stay in confinement the emotional effects can range from acute to chronic. Deprived of social interaction, a stimulus humans need to stay healthy and to be able to function properly, many mental health issues have been reported by the isolated inmates. This can include anxiety, panic, paranoia, insomnia, aggression, depression, self-harm, and thoughts of suicide.
Over 80,000 inmates in the United States are in Solitary Confinement as said by the Bureua of Justice Statistics (“Solitary Confinement Facts”). Because the federal government doesn’t keep count of the number if inmates in Solitary Confinement, there is no more recent data. However, solitary confinement is a form of punishment used all over the country. Solitary confinement is used as a punishment for the most “dangerous” criminals, but is the right way to approach the problem? Sarah Jo Pender, a woman who experienced solitary confinement in the Indiana Women’s Prison writes, Women who enter sane will become so depressed that they shut down or hurt themselves.
Prisoners can be sent to Special Housing Units for a wide variety of reasons, among those being minor and non-violent transgressions. Consequently, solitary confinement is experienced by a high percentage of prisoners, including those that are especially susceptible to extreme isolation like juveniles, the elderly, and people with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems. Statement of the Problem During the past few years, the numbers of supermax prisons have increased in many countries, especially in North America. Supermax prisons are said to be a solution to keep the most dangerous and violent prisoners that pose a threat to other individuals including inmates and the society that they live in. However, it has posed a threat to the inmates’ sanity, which can cause negative mental effects such as self-harm, anxiety, and irrational anger.
Private prisons tend not to house costlier inmates, due to the higher cost of supervising them. Scott Merryman states that, from 1990 to 1995, the overwhelming numbers of inmates in private facilities were classified as minimum-security, and this condition is still relevant today. Public prisons consist of twenty percent maximum-security inmates compared to the five percent in private prisons. Also, public prisons have thirty-five percent of their inmates in minimum-security, while the private prisons have sixty-five percent of their inmates in minimum-security. There are states that have private prisons that choose not to have any high maximum-security inmates at all.
The purpose of this paper is to examine recidivism and public perception. Every year thousands of ex-offenders are returned to prison for a variety of reasons. Many jurisdictions lack the resources for ex-offenders to have a successful return to society (James, 2011). The disadvantages of recidivism effects not only the lives of felons, but also their families and surrounding communities. Recidivism occurs when a person has been previously incarcerated, and later released, reoffends, and returns to the correctional system.
These offenders will face difficulties re¬connecting with jobs, housing, and perhaps their families when they return, and will remain beset by substance abuse and health problems. Based on data from the national Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program, “nearly 80% of arrestees admitted to the Jail in 2012 were positive for an illegal drug. Of all the people admitted to the jail nearly half did not have a high school diploma or GED.” (Recidivism Reduction Demonstration, Web). Unfortunately most of these individuals will return to prison as a result of the social disadvantages that they are accustomed to.
According to (Schmalleger & Smykia, 2015, p. 241), “For the nation’s one-half million correctional employees and thousands of daily visitors to prisons and jails, good health care also reduces their risk of becoming infected from inmates with communicable diseases.” I definitely point out a great reason on why the prison health care programs shouldn’t be abolished. “Jail and prison inmates experience disproportionately high levels of both physical and mental symptomatology, including infectious diseases,1-3 chronic conditions,3,4 severe psychological disorders,5 and mild psychological symptomatology” (Lindquist & Lindquist, 1999). We want to run a safe environment while ensuring we maintain good health within the prison walls. Staff health and safety is just as important as a prisoner’s. Also, those with mental health issues deserve treatment as it will assist with their behavior and how they function.
It is believed by Fiscal Year 2030, nearly one-third of all prison inmates will be over the age of 59. For inmates that is suffering from terminal illness are likely to die in prison than a long-term care facilities. The legal barriers to providing a stable environment for elderly inmate and encounter lack of public sympathy. For example, the public can view the medical care for inmates to be a disrespect for those that cause harm to because they can feel that these prisoners are to be suffering for their crimes. Nancy Dubler and Budd Heyman noting that regardless of their crimes, they are entitled for medical care and compassion (Cohn, 1999).
Adaptation is when an inmate is shaped and acclimated by the institutional environment. “For some Inmates, incarceration is so stark and psychologically painful that it represents a form of traumatic stress severe enough to produce PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) reactions once released.”-Craig Haney (University of California, Santa Cruz). Prisons and jails can negatively affect inmates mentally. Suicide is the number one cause of death among inmates in local jails and top 5 for the state prisons.-Alana Horowitz. Some inmates are so hurt emotionally and cave under the pressures they face every day.
Drug abuse can rewire brain connections, decrease synapse activity and cause addiction. The American Psychiatric Association says that addiction is a complex condition, and a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 21.5 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2014. Addiction to drugs has been a growing issue in America, and is causing jails to become overcrowded. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that more than half of federal prisoners were incarcerated for drug crimes in 2010.
Those in the diversion program had recidivism rates as low as 36%; this compares to the group who were given jail time with a recidivism rate of 54% (Parsons, Wei, Henrichson, Drucker, & Trone, 2015). In terms of public safety, only 3% of individuals who were involved in treatment programs committed violent crimes after treatment; this number doubles for those who were sentenced to jail and prisons. New York has made the necessary changes to start viewing The War on Drugs and its influence on Mass Incarceration as not only a criminal justice issue but also now a mental health and public health problem. From the beginning, stakeholders saw the flaws and have spent about 36 years working out the issues. The reform is a good stepping stone toward a more just system, but just as the original Rockefeller drug Laws had their issues, the new reforms will have issues that will be worked out through the years to
Prison cells have changed in the past couple years to withstand rust or mold from disturbing or breaking the iron bars. The second most important improvement was the treatment of inmates/prisoners. The prisoners have changed a lot in the past century or so because they have developed a new way for entertainment or pleasure. That was sexual humiliation of what the prisoners did to each other. Other than pleasure they have gotten more dangerous because in prison, criminals have records that have skulls or stars that show how dangerous they are.
Prison gangs have been and are a growing problem. Prison organizations throughout the United States have tried many different strategies to address the issue of prison gang members. One of the problems is that gang members are more of a threat to the staff and other inmates than regular inmates who are not in a gang. The prisons have problems begin able to house certain serious offenders that need to be kept separate because of the limited spacing. Gangs in the prison have a higher disruption and incident rate then non gang members.
After reading the article, I do agree that juveniles should be segregate from the adult prison for protection. However, I don 't agree with the solitary confinement and being restrained in small spaces. Most of these juvenile offenders have nonviolent criminal charges. Solitary confinement can cause all kinds of mental and psychological problems for juveniles. There have been cases where juveniles committ suicide while in adult prison because they have experienced physical abuse, mistreatment by staff members and long stays in solitary confinement.
Thousands of people would not benefit from outpatient treatment and often found themselves under-employed, homeless, victims of crime, in nursing homes, in residential treatment homes, in a correctional facility, and more likely to suffer from substance abuse disorders. These compounding factors are the foundation of the phenomenon called “Criminalization of the Mental Ill.” People with a serious mental illness are more likely to be arrested, incarcerated, and sentenced to more time than those not suffering from a mental illness. Contrary to stereotypes, people with a serious mental illness are more likely to be a victim of a crime. Even if the concept of diverting potential clients to alternative community programs was created at the inception of deinstitutionalization, it was not implemented into the criminal justice system until 1988 when the first Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) was developed. The Memphis Police Department developed the program after one of its officers shot and killed a man who suffered from a mental illness.