Criminalizing Mental Illness

  • metta

    Posts: 53172

    Jul 11, 2012 5:46 AM GMT
    People With Schizophrenia

    Beginning at 12:30min

    "In 1998, the BJS reported there were an estimated 283,000 prison and jail inmates who suffered from mental health problems. That number is now estimated to be 1.25 million. The rate of reported mental health disorders in the state prison population is five times greater (56.2 percent) than in the general adult population (11 percent).

    Women prisoners have an even higher rate of mental health problems than men: almost three quarters (73 percent) of all women in state prison have mental health problems, compared to 55 percent of men."

    Criminalizing Mental can we fix this? ....should we fix this?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 11, 2012 6:01 AM GMT

    Yes I think it should be fixed.

    Here's a story about a person with schizophrenia who went on to become...

    ...a neuroscientist.
  • AllAmericanJo...

    Posts: 4271

    Jul 11, 2012 6:44 AM GMT
    metta8 said

    Criminalizing Mental can we fix this? ....should we fix this?

    Difficult to say. Mental illness often has two components: the brain function portion that is organic, and its learned behavioral outcomes. Many times, the behaviors can change. That means they are relatively controllable.

    The hallucinations and delusions in schizophrenia may not be the person's fault. However, does not absolve them of responsibility for their actions? Not necessarily, if they knew their criminal activity was wrong (they usually do).

    It has to be case by case. Can't say whether mental illness is criminalized, but it does need to be de-stigmatized. Something's wrong with our health care systems when the first time someone is diagnosed is in prison. Maybe if that person had been treated earlier, there wouldn't be criminal outcomes.

    People are suffering and don't even know they don't have to. Why is it so hard to get medical treatment for mental sickness? It drives me mad (pun).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 11, 2012 3:24 PM GMT
    Excellent speaker.

    I liked very much the speakers explanation of restraints. Also I liked how she describes her effort to control her illness by involving herself with complex problem solving at her job, which exemplifies that with a proper structure, with support and understanding and with proper meds she is able to not just live a productive life for herself but to continue contributing to her society. Very often those with mental illness are quite bright, my nephew included. It is heartbreaking to see what can become of them. Lots of room for improvement on this front of humanity.

    We had a relevant experience recently with my adopted nephew who suffers personality disorders likely involving pathelogical lying among others. My brother & sil had to Baker Act him due to behavior (in Florida, this is a way of hospitalizing the mentally ill for a few days of observation) and then they convinced him to voluntarily commit himself to the hospital for a 30 day program but the supposed reputable hospital kicked him out, breaking my sil's heart, telling them that they need to just wait for the kid to get arrested, to wind up in jail before they could get help with this.

    So just as my brother & sil thought they were getting this under control, the health system completely failed them, throwing the kid back into turmoil and now he has taken off by himself, out of state and out of control. He's of adult age so there's only so much my brother can do. It's terrible.

    Some of this is lack of funding* (generally, not my family's case as my brother would have paid entirely for a program for his kid, of course), nothing new, but an ongoing program of destroying America's safety nets. That is backed up by the socially & professionally accepted deinstitutionalization** of psychiatric services in a supposed effort to respect the wishes of the mentally ill. The thinking being that a homeless person would rather not be constrained to any specific housing situation and so leaving them homeless respects their wishes and whatever is left of their free will. It's arguable, but questionable.

    "A key component in the dehospitalization of persons with chronic mental illnesses and their translocation to a wide range of settings has been the shift from state to federal funding encouraged by the Social Security Administration's restrictions on funding for institutions for mental diseases (IMDs), usually referred to as the IMD exclusion. The overall effect of the exclusion, which limits federal funding for mentally ill patients receiving care in many settings, including state psychiatric hospitals, has been to create incentives for states to move patients out of state hospitals, which has contributed to homelessness and inappropriate incarceration."

    " the process of replacing long-stay psychiatric hospitals with less isolated community mental health services for those diagnosed with a mental disorder or developmental disability"