Abuse Of Mentally Ill Inmates In Prisons

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Kara Francis May 22, 2015 World Literature I Mr. Hellegers Abuse of Mentally Ill Inmates In American Prisons Mental disabilities are defined by a disturbance in the cognition, emotional regulation, or behavior caused by psychological, biological, or developmental processes that don’t function normally. Although many people with mental illnesses suffer greatly everywhere, the individuals in prison suffer more due to the stigma attached to mental illnesses which stymies the individuals’ abilities to receive adequate treatments for their conditions. Prisons are now the first method in treating mentally ill people instead of hospitals. The practice of deinstitutionalization,which is the release of individuals from mental health institutions…show more content…
For individuals with mental illnesses, a couple of months in prison could lead to death. Living behind bars is more difficult for people with mental illnesses because they can hinder an individual’s ability to think clearly, control their impulses and their ability to cope. If inmates were to receive adequate treatment, they would be able to better handle the day to day life in prison. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a type of psychotherapy where negative thought patterns are challenged to change the way one thinks about the world and themselves, with the help of medication, can lessen the emotional and physical distress caused by most mental illnesses. “Inmates with mental health conditions are more likely to be victimized by other inmates.” (Callous and Cruel). The New York Times says, “Mentally ill inmates in prisons and jails across the United States are subjected to routine physical abuse by guards.” Mentally ill inmates may appear weaker and more vulnerable to others. This makes them an easy target of sexual and physical assault by other inmates or even the jail personnel. The Human Rights Watch has also stated in ‘Callous and Cruel’ that “Inmates with serious mental illness have fewer resources with which to cope with added turmoil. Anxious, depressed, psychotic and suicidal inmates are at increased risk of deteriorating emotionally and of having impaired judgment...”. Without the proper treatment, inmates are unable to…show more content…
Treatment can help rid an individual of the painful symptoms associated with their mental illness and develop the necessary coping skills to handle being incarcerated. When a feeling of hopelessness sets in, it’s usually accompanied by a myriad of negative thoughts. As inmates usually spend majority of their time alone in their cells, it’s hard to think positively and make the best out of their current situation. If there’s no one there to support and encourage these already fragile inmates, they can crack under the stress, hopelessness, and sadness. “Prisons and jails are constitutionally required to make treatment available to inmates, but the basic components of an adequate mental health system are poorly implemented…” (Callous and Cruel). Since these facilities are obligated to provide mental health care, there’s no reason that dozens of inmates may die yearly due to the lack of treatment. The self harm of inmates in New Orleans’ jails was seen as a manipulative act among prisoners. Instead of providing adequate mental health services, the act was routinely ignored. When mentally ill people don’t receive counselling, they will find other ways of relieving themselves of their intense emotions or their lack of emotions. Usually in the form of self harm. Some inmates may engage in cutting, pulling out hair, banging their head or other

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