Mentally ill Offenders

Mental Care
April 23, 2024
Mental illness
April 23, 2024
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Mentally ill Offenders

While prisons and crime are not far from the attention of the media, most elements of prison life are unknown and indistinct in the public domain. Individuals who suffer from mental challenges in prisons undergo numerous problems which are not well understood by most people. Characteristically, there are women and men with significant mental challenges like bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. A collection of developmental disabilities commonly compounds their ailments thus bearing the mental and physical hurt of violence.

The special needs for mentally ill offenders include the provision of secure housing units by isolating them in their cells (Batastini et al. 2016). The rule of isolated cells to prisoners with mental disabilities might be applied as a short-time procedure or a residential assignment that might last for a long time. The decision to isolate or segregate prisoners is made because of specific reasons. First, isolation guards inmates and other staff from dangerous activities such as assault, thus relocating the prisoners to a unique environment assists in averting such circumstances from being on the rise thus maintaining some form of order in the universal prison population. Segregation also guards the prisoners against being oppressed and can further assist in protecting an inmate who might be having intentions of causing self-harm. Mentally ill offenders are grouped as individuals who require specialised healthcare services to approach their challenges efficiently. More particularly, people are not supposed to think in the form of strategies that are mutually exclusive of controlling or altering the criminal. Instead, the prison authorities should considerably decrease the opportunities of mentally ill offenders from reoffending by providing appropriate treatment procedures. Provision of specialised treatment can, therefore, be regarded as a type of risk management that assists in the attainment of public safety objectives. The incorporation of risk management and treatment should commence during intake to the program and continue all through the treatment process.

All prison environments are considered to be safe (Blagden & Perrin, 2016). Some of the prisons are reserved and quiet while others are active and noisy and are usually unpredictable. Within the prison, surroundings also differ from cell to cell or even from work setting and one program to another. Across the distinct environmental differences, inmates can get specialised environments or functions in prison which have improved functionalities. The management of prison facilities should take advantage of the specialised environments to provide refuge for mentally ill offenders because it is a therapeutic intervention that can help them in reducing detrimental experiences and stress. In many occasions, inmates who are mentally ill should be protected from particular elements of the prison environment. The adaptation strategies that incorporate inmates into the culture of prisons can be considered as counter interactive to remedial objectives for inmates who have a mental illness. For instance, most inmates with mental illnesses have challenges in socialising with fellow inmates thus causing harmful effects. Therefore, these individuals might profit from structured organisations and less socialisation. Some strategies wish to include specialised treatment environments into the treatment procedures by including environmental factors with other beneficial modalities.

In the past, the corrections and prisons department delivered healthcare services to mentally ill offenders. Because of the increased expenses in the healthcare services, personnel expense, shortage of creative correctional leadership and an increase in legal action, most of the states have pushed for the privatisation of medical services and mental health services. There is no research to indicate the most appropriate model for the delivery of flexible, cost-effective and adequate psychiatry and mental health services in correctional facilities. Profit-based healthcare providers tend to maintain some essential staff positions unoccupied thus encouraging medications and treatment approaches that are cheaper which hampers patient care. There is no research to show the most effective model that is suitable for the provision of reasonable, cost-effective and adequate psychiatric and mental health services in correctional amenities. Since the issue of mental health is paramount, the state should ensure that offenders suffering from this condition be treated by high-quality specialists through enlargement of training programs. Medical institutions should expand their sources of income through the provision of the much required public service and also provide opportunities for taking part in correctional studies.

When compared to the general public, offenders might be less appealing, less human and less cooperative. The federal courts in the U.S have affirmed that prisoners have the right to get mental health and medical attention that attains the required standards devoid of any underlying variances between the rights to receive medical care for mental or physical illnesses. Medical services are supposed to be offered in the intrinsically coercive prison structure without conceding its moral standards and missions which are at their very least present challenges (Almgren, 2017). Treatment problems and challenges that are brought by the increase in the occurrence of the persistent and severe mental challenges in prisons might not be overcome soon. The government should focus on the development of delicate care psychiatric divisions in prisons by changing the government support to the corrections department from the mental health department. Most of the departments in the corrections facilities have signed consents with government departments of mental illness for the provision of acute healthcare services. The provision of the critical healthcare services promotes movement of offenders to and from facilities and acute security issues, thus creating conflicts within the different departments as well as other communication challenges in the variations between handling offenders and handling patients. Conflicts usually include the criteria for admission of offenders, type and level of care, formulary variances, and disadvantages of what every structure can do or not with regards to ancillary and supportive remedy. Additionally, conflicts might further be experienced in how conduct violations are handled whenever an offender goes back to prison. The benefits of psychiatrist units for dealing with acute care patients include the creation of a therapeutic milieu that goes hand in hand with the mission of the correctional facilities which include the provision of proper and safe accomplishment of specialised treatments.

Offenders suffering from mental challenges who reenter society, especially those with co-occurring mental health concerns have composite needs (Han et al. 2016). At the same moment, public safety concerns are a challenge to all individuals in society. Mental health providers in the community regularly feel ill-equipped to offer services to the society. Lately, the requirements of reentering lawbreakers suffering from mental challenges have obtained increased attention. Whatever the situation, released lawbreakers suffering from mental illnesses quickly understand the behavioural problems and homelessness that result in re-incarceration. Some of the discharged offenders go back to prison because of violating technical paroles. The experiences of programs are consistent with the programs that offer community treatment that provides aggressive society treatment as well as integrated remedies for mental health challenges. One of the most important strategies that correctional facilities can adopt is providing the offenders with a discharge schedule that can be collaboratively written by the medical officers, the inmate suffering from mental health challenges and his family members. The program should offer the inmate the chance for continuity of appointments, medication with clinicians in the society and healthcare plans after being released from prison. The officers responsible should consider the transportation, individual identification and other concerns that might arise during the initial days after the individual has been released. The government should also provide integrated treatment approaches for inmates suffering from mental illnesses after leaving prison to enable them to reenter society.

Another important strategy for ensuring that offenders reenter the community is transparency among mental health and correction staff regarding their respective obligations in supervising the individual in the society after reentry. Service and parole providers are supposed to identify the people who are responsible for different commitments and how these duties befall them (Hyde, 2016). It is essential to define the responsibilities stipulating who is supposed to respond to noncompliance of treatment, medical deterioration, and other wrongdoings. Mental health officers and staff in correction facilities should further address positive support which includes stepped-down management as well as inducements like gift certificates for clothing offered by business associations that are concerned about religious movements, homelessness and community organisations. The hindrances to collaboration among different organisations, which includes past challenges in organisations, should be addressed and acknowledged. The introduction of reentry programs should provide the population with services as one of the main alternatives to incarceration.




Almgren, G. (2017). Health care politics, policy, and services: a social justice analysis. Springer publishing company.

Batastini, A. B., Morgan, R. D., Kroner, D. G., & Mills, J. F. (2016). Stepping up, stepping out: A mental health treatment program for inmates detained in restrictive housing. Under contract with Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Blagden, N., & Perrin, C. (2016). Relax lads; you’re in safe hands here”: Experiences of a sexual offender treatment prison. Experiencing imprisonment: Research on the experience of living and working in carceral institutions, 27-45.

Han, Y., Lin, V., Wu, F., & Hser, Y. I. (2016). Gender comparisons among Asian American and Pacific Islander patients in drug dependency treatment. Substance use & misuse51(6), 752-762.

Hyde, R. (2016). The role of civil liability in ensuring police responsibility for failures to act after Michael and DSD. European Journal of Current Legal Issues22(1).