Are Incarcerated Mental Illness Inmates Receiving Special Treatment? Free Essay Samples & Outline

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Sample Essay On Are Incarcerated Mental Illness Inmates Receiving Special Treatment?

The current statistics show that the mentally ill patients encompass a large number of the population in prison which has led to a significant problem with the administration and therapeutic specialists. It is evident that the number of the prisoners with mental illnesses has increased and also the seriousness of the disease has become more severe. Due to this occurrence, a lot of efforts have been put by the concerned people to deal with the problem (Thompson 2009).

Specifically, discussions have been held on actuarial devices that would be used to predict and classify the illnesses, best ways to control of treat the disease, how treatment and management relate, best methods of isolation and medication and also the role of the health officers that would be responsible for correcting the problem. Researchers say that there is the need for more efficient approaches to dealing with the mentally ill inmates that need therapy. This paper focuses on the situation of the mentally ill inmates, evaluating the seriousness of the illness and what is being done to deal with the problem as well as the recommended steps that should be taken (Steadman, Osher Robbins Case and Samuels 2009).

According to the research that was done in 2004 by the American Psychiatric Association, facilities that offer correction of mental illnesses in the United States has become the most significant institutions. In 1956 to 1996, the population of the psychiatric patients reduced by almost 90% because the mentally ill persons were released to the community. The worst of this was that they had been published without enough support and the criminal justice system later caught them.

It is evident from the research that, most of the mentally ill persons are found in the prisons. The percentage of the mentally ill prison inmates is estimated to be 16%, although this data may vary with researchers and the methodologies used according to the mental health service record provided. The mentally ill inmates in prison are becoming a critical issue over the years, and the situation may be worse by day. Records show that 16.5% of prisoners in Florida receive continuous mental treatment (Moran 2014).

The data that has been collected in the past indicate that the inmates that were found to have a mild illness from 2002 to 2006 remained unchanged in a long time. Patients that had moderate disease increase from 8,053 to 10,553 and those with severe cases from 402 to 812, which was a double count. Florida is the third rated prison service provider, and it has been admitting prisoners with critical mental illnesses (Thompson 2009). However, it may not serve the other entire nation. Prisoners tend to have similar disorders that occur frequently and with great intensity. The American Psychiatric Association reported in 2004 that the most common disorder among the prisoners includes bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression, which a common occurrence in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

The inmates are also frequently found with personality disorders which have a basis of antisocial personality disorder which primarily fall into the classification of antisocial or criminal behavior in which most inmates succeed (Moran 2014).

According to the data by many researchers, it is clear that mental illness among the prisoners has become a serious problem. Dealing with the issue is becoming urgent with time because the situation is becoming worse as days advance. More inmates with severe mental illnesses are getting into prisons, and the occurrence is not expected to be contrary. State psychiatric care system is not likely to develop more room to deal with the situation; therefore, prison administration has to meet the need of developing techniques, programs, and strategies to manage the ill persons.

Research has identified this as still a challenge that still needs to be addressed particularly by the prison administration (Moran 2014).

According to the data given by a bureau of justice statistics about 70% a state prison screen the inmates during the intake in 2000. Various screening devices have been discovered and used, some being evaluations and interviews, actuarial statistics approaches and clinical interviews that do not insinuate judgment of people. The essence of assessment is to identify the mental health illnesses and determine the best methods to deal with them. Another reason is to define people who may be a threat to themselves and others. There has been a notable improvement in the assessment and management of the mental illness within the health practitioners and prisons (Levin 2015).

In the past, there have discussions over the versions of data that has been released, questioning the accuracy of the clinical and actuarial methods regarding determining the seriousness of the conditions with the inmates. Apparently, the actuarial models have been credited for the ability to predict those who are likely to be violent or most offended in future. Consequently, in 1996, actuarial models were recommended to replace the clinical approaches rather than supplementing them because of their accuracy in predicting behavior. The significance contribution of this finding is combining various tests to determine the particular risk of a particular group and not necessarily to determine the accurate ones in predicting the behavior of the mentally ill in future (Levin 2015).

There is a pressing need for the management of the mental health illness to balance treatment and control of the current situation. Research that was conducted in 2007 point out that, there is no strategy available that can automatically identify the offender, risk, treatment procedures or the control levels. If such methods can be developed, then the clinicians and the prison administrators that regard effectiveness in treatment and risk management will have practical strategies for the mentally ill prisoners.

Regarding the inmates, the clinicians may demand the diagnostic health information of the patients while the prison administration may require any information that is likely to be necessary for the management of the jail. Since 1940, it is understood that there is no easy strategy to deal with the problem. In a research in 2006, the issue of dealing with the mentally ill people was characterized by the pressure between mental health and the security of the prison as an institution (Landsberg 2002).

Observations have been made that, there is no balancing equation between the treatment need of the prisoners and the supply of the resources necessary for treatment and this has affected the way the prison administration has been handling the patients in jails. Research that was done by Faiver in 1998 illustrated that department of corrections needs to be careful when punishing the mentally ill inmates especially when they act beyond control since they are not able to think clearly, and the patients are not sure of the rules that they should not break. Also, according to Lovell's article, it is easy to evaluate how psychopathology hinders a mentally ill person to comprehend and follow rule that are set by an institution. Victimization being at the top of the list, there are several issues that hinder the treatment of the mentally ill prisoners (Landsberg 2002).

Mentally ill inmates are not only the offenders in prison but their deeds also lead other inmates to aggressiveness. It has been observed that mentally ill inmates are likely to cause a commotion in the jail settings, which lead other inmates to unplanned behaviors that may ruin the peace of others in the institution. Research show that mentally ill prisoners are likely to do wrong repeatedly than the other inmates. Also, the mentally ill prisoners were liable to be in prison for a longer time than the others because they were likely to repeat their offenses more frequently sometimes even before they could complete their imprisonment terms (Hassan, Rahman, King, Senior and Shaw 2012).

In advancing the knowledge of the issue of assessing, prevention, control, treatment and management of the mental illness among the inmates, research has to be frequently done. In some prisons, inmates have specializes areas in which they stay separately without having other people around. These areas can be used to monitor the behavior of the mentally ill prisoners so that the assessment may be accurate to tell the severity of the illness. One would trigger their minds to see how they respond and their aggressiveness. In gaining more knowledge on this issue, it would be necessary also to follow closely with other prison institution on the similarities of the conditions of the inmates. Identifying the disorders of the patients and looking at the relationship between them would be necessary to determine the trend of the illness. It would be of help too to follow up with other countries and compare the data they have with their assessment criteria to determine the situation (Hassan, Rahman, King, Senior and Shaw 2012).

It would also be necessary to ensure that there are policies formulated with the help of clinicians and health practitioners that would be implemented by all institutions. The system would ensure that accurate data is provided that give accurate figures of the mentally ill inmates and the level of their problem. Also, the background information of their illness would be given along with their diagnostic information that will help determine the number of patients that need treatment. It would also be necessary to prohibit the release of prisoners back to the community when they are not adequately treated or not given the necessary service. If some inmates are released before recovering, this will provide inaccurate data, if the research covered only those in prison (Frances 2011).

The methodology that would be effective in advancing knowledge would be creating a web portal and inviting the managers of different institutions to edit the files. Here, they could post their data on mental health and give their opinion on better methods to reduce the cases as well as any newly discovered strategies, which would keep the researcher updated on the temporary issues that emerge with time concerning the problem (Frances 2011).

The unit of analysis would be medication. According to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics research that was done in 2000, 73% of the prisons in the United States administered psychotropic drugs to their patients in the institutions, while 114,400 patients all over the world were given the drugs when in prison. Administering drugs for treatment is the best option that would be used because all other methods such as psychiatric intervention would consume a lot of time and money. Use of one institution as the sample would be favorable to ensure fast and efficient feedback. In the analysis, using computer aided personal interview would be necessary, which would give real comments and information that would not be distorted because every individual would give the information according to his or her experience with the prisoners (Frances 2011).

The study would be designed to apply to the clinicians and prison administrators for credible information. Any other person who does not fall in these two categories may not take part. The best sources of funding would be the government, through the ministry of health, the health practitioners’ bodies and associations, the psychiatric associations, the therapeutic Association and other health stakeholders. Writing an appeal of invitation would help in presenting the need at hand (Frances 2011).

There should be recommendations on policy, requiring all institutions that play any significant role in the mental health illness to implement the policies set. Also, creating awareness to the public of the existing policies and practices in line with the mental illness would help achieve the goal to reduce the risk. It would be in order inviting all the bodies involved in the mental health to collaborate in the study so that they can also give insights that may play a great role. The finding of the survey would be paramount in defining the situation of the mentally ill inmates so that the necessary steps would be taken to better the situation. The data from the study would be presented to all the stakeholders, including the clinicians, psychiatrists, and the criminal justice association through their websites for evaluation. The data could also be presented on the web portal with a clear description of how the study was done, what the findings were, and the data analysis. Their website could be accessed by the relevant people that may be in need of the data (Fagan and Ax, 2011).

In conclusion, a significant percentage of the mentally ill persons need immediate treatment. These inmates are at risk because of the seriousness of their problem as many health practitioners, psychiatrists and prison administrators are struggling to correct the situation. Research has shown that the situation is getting worse as prisons are still receiving prisoners who are in severe conditions. However, the facilities and the resources seem to be limited, and there are no new strategies that have been discovered yet to take care of the worsening situation. Out of this situation, this paper reviewed some of the significant ways to manage and control the predicament (Enos 2015).


Enos, G. (2015). Leaders sound alarm on abundance of jail inmates with mental illness. Mental Health Weekly, 25(19), 1-3.
Fagan, T. & Ax, R. (2011). Correctional mental health (1st ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.
Faiver, K. (1998). Health care management issues in corrections (1st ed.). Lanham, MD: American Correctional Assc.
Frances, R. (2011). General Medical Problems of Incarcerated Persons With Severe and Persistent Mental Illness: A Population-Based Study. Yearbook Of Psychiatry And Applied Mental Health, 2011, 132-133.
Hassan, L., Rahman, M., King, C., Senior, J., & Shaw, J. (2012). Level of Mental Health Intervention and Clinical Need Among Inmates With Mental Illness in Five English Jails. Psychiatric Services, 63(12), 1218-1224.
Landsberg, G. (2002). Serving mentally ill offenders (1st ed.). New York: Springer.
Levin, A. (2015). Report Slams U.S. Prisons for Use of Force Against Inmates With Mental Illness. Psychiatric News, 50(17), 1-1.
Moran, M. (2014). Mental Illness Highly Prevalent Among Incarcerated Women. Psychiatric News, 49(5), 1-1.
OSTERWEIL, N. (2012). Serious Mental Illness Prevalent Among Inmates. Clinical Psychiatry News, 40(1), 1-22.
Prison staff raise concerns over handling inmates with mental illness. (2002). Mental Health Practice, 5(8), 3-3.
Steadman, H., Osher, F., Robbins, P., Case, B., & Samuels, S. (2009). Prevalence of Serious Mental Illness Among Jail Inmates. Psychiatric Services, 60(6).
Thompson, A. (2009). Caring for Prison Inmates the Hospice Way. Illness, Crisis, & Loss, 17(4), 363-378.