Mental Illness In Prisons

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Prisoners with mental illness face various challenges in jail, but it also has to be mentioned that prisons are currently dealing with a high number of prisoners facing a mental illness. For the sake of conciseness, this essay will focus on the jail environment for prisoners with mental illness. It is important to mention that in order to treat a person with mental illness, it is important to have a safe environment. A safe environment includes a place where prisoners with mental illness will not face mental or physical abuses by others, but also, a safe environment needs to offer the capacity of infrastructure and experience staff members. It can be argued, that now days current jails do not offer a safe environment for prisoners with mental…show more content…
Along those lines, the Department of Health of the Australian Government, mentions that mental illness can also affect and interfere with functions and can also lead to activity limitations or participation restrictions. A variety of different types of mental illness are also mentioned, such as dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders and even substance disorders, among others. These types of mental illness require special and professional help. That is why, various institution offer programs which can help people with different types of mental illnesses. However, the panorama of mental illness, prisoners is increasing its numbers in prisons. For example, in Australia, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare there is a 38% of prison entrants that have mental illness. It has to be mentioned that from those 38%, 32% have been diagnosed with a chronic condition. Growing numbers of mental illness prisoners is also a growing tendency in the US prisons. In 2012, it was estimated that jails had 356,268 prisoners with severe mental illness, while there were about 35,000 mentally ill patients in psychiatric hospitals. (Aljazerah) These numbers can demonstrate that only in the US there are 10 times more mentally ill prisoners in US prisons that in state psychiatric…show more content…
It is also important to analyze this challenge, for example, it was mentioned the harsh conditions these inmates were under. The negative and harsh environment was not improving their mental situation. Another problem by not having a safe environment is provoking harsh and violent methods towards inmates with mental illness. As mentioned before, the beating and the use of pepper spray by guards, will cause more likely cause the mentally ill inmate to absorb the overwhelming brunt of the violence. The absorption of these types of violence will create a higher risk of more infractions by the inmate. Also, the use of solitary confinement is causing more mental problems, but also is causing physical harm. The mental effects of solitary confinement may include anger, depression, anxiety, paranoia, perceptual distortion, psychosis, and obsessive thoughts. By having a mentally ill inmate who prior to solitary confinement has and is suffering any of these mental illnesses, then his mental situation will be worsened. It can be argued that solitary confinements is also the reason of the increase in risk of suicide among mentally ill inmates. For example, the first seven months of 2014 there were 14 suicides in a California prison, and from the 14 suicides 11 occurred in isolation units, but it is important to mention that from those 11 inmates, 10 suffered mental illness. It

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