Mental Illness In Prisons

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Mental Illness can be defined as a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood (National Alliance on Mental Illness 1). Mental illness can be directly related to addiction, criminal activity and violence, which is hindering society from being successful and causing us to be stereotyped. So many people are not receiving proper care and treatment. Mental illness is often frowned upon and associated with being “crazy” or the healthcare just simply isn’t available or is denied. Without treatment, people will continue to be stereotyped when many of us just need proper support. Patients who are suffering from mental illness turn to addiction because they are trying to self-medicate. Mentally ill people who aren’t aware become violent,…show more content…
In 2005 more than half of all prisoners and jail inmates had a mental health problem (James 1). If every inmate who has committed a crime was properly examined for mental illness the ratio of inmates to mental health patients would even out. There are more jails and prisons in the world than there are mental health facilities. By 2002 forty state mental hospitals have closed during the past decade while more than 400 new prisons have been opened (Gainsborough 6). How is our society supposed to continue to advance if instead of helping one another we just lock them up in a prison? So, let’s play this out, the mental patient who committed a crime is thrown in jail where his condition more than likely worsens, they’ve caused trouble since they’ve been inside, they serve their sentence and are released back into society just to turn around and commit more crimes because of their worsened condition when they could have just received treatment this whole time, makes perfect sense. In the early 1970s, Michigan’s mental institutions held roughly 28,000 patients, while its prisons held 8,000 inmates. Today there are fewer than 3,000 patients in Michigan mental hospitals while the state’s prisons hold more than 45,000 inmates (Gainsborough 6). So basically, tax payer’s dollars are being wasted on people who need help, not discipline. Plenty of inmates have committed crimes due to their mindset or lack thereof, in extreme cases when there is no logical explanation for why someone has a committed a crime, people should go through an extensive examination for mental illness, this would increase the number of people getting help rather than just through psychiatric patients into jail
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