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Prison Reform in the Penal System to Treat Mentally Ill Prisoners

Essay by   •  January 12, 2012  •  Essay  •  464 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,439 Views

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Abstract

More than half of the prisoners incarcerated in the United States are suffering from mental illness that is untreated while they are in prison. Successfully treatment of mentally ill prisoners by prison reform is necessary in our penal system. A solution to this would be for state and federal government to provide sufficient funding to enable prisons to properly equip, staff and treat the mentally ill that are incarcerated. Preventive measures should be established in order to help the prisoners with their treatment and to become productive members of society once they are released.

The prison system is designed for people who commit crimes and is a punishment for those crimes committed. It is not designed to treat criminals with mental illness. Prison reform is necessary in the penal system to treat mentally ill prisoners. Unless this is established, these prisoners will go untreated. Preventive measures, proper facilities, knowledgeable staff, state and federal funding are solutions to prison reform and can assist the prisons that have an over-abundance of mentally ill prisoners in their population.

Prisoners who suffer from mental illness find it increasingly difficult to conform to the

prison's rules and confinement, thus they are most likely to exhibit rage and violent outburst

while in incarcerated. This creates a problem for prison officials who are not used to dealing with

a person who suffers from mental illness. Preventive measures such as proper diagnosis,

counseling, and possibly medications should be implemented to assist the mentally ill when an

outburst occurs while they are confined.

Prisons should have separate facilities to house mentally ill prisoners and not put them

with the general population. In order to successfully treat a mentally ill prisoner, the prison must

have a qualified staff of doctors on hand to assist them and properly diagnose them. Without

proper treatment, the prisoner will most likely continue getting in trouble with law enforcement

and end up back in prison. They are not only a danger to themselves, but to society as a whole.

State and federal funding should also be available to these prisons to treat the mentally ill.

This would also enable prisons to hire qualified staff and provide other alternative methods for

treatment.

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