soci3150 research paper

soci3150 research paper - Running Head: MENTALLY ILL...

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Running Head: MENTALLY ILL OFFENDERS Mentally Ill Offenders in the American Criminal Justice System 1
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MENTALLY ILL OFFENDERS Mentally Ill Offenders in the American Criminal Justice System There has been considerable research conducted on various facets of mentally disordered offenders’ and their circumstances within the American criminal justice system, focusing on incarceration rates, deinstitutionalization, and appropriate treatment. This subgroup within the total prison population is growing daily and hence, has generated interest for the media, politicians, criminal justice professionals, and legislators (Aufderheide & Brown, 2005). Mentally ill individuals who have engaged in criminal behavior are often intertwined in a relationship between mental health and criminal justice agencies, often receiving the worst care and services that both cohorts of agencies have to offer (Steadman, Monahan, Hartstone, Kantorowski Davis, & Clark Robbins, 1982). Because mentally disordered offenders are unfit for typical retribution and punishment, it is important to understand mental illnesses in relation to incarceration in order to design more effective rehabilitation programs for such individuals (Gondles Jr., 2005). “Working With Mentally Disordered Offenders in Corrections” In his article “Working With Mentally Disordered Offenders in Corrections,” Sun reviews aspects of mentally disordered offenders in corrections such as the prevalence of offenders with mental disorders in the criminal justice system, counseling issues of this group of offenders, and their dual status as both criminals and mentally ill patients. In order to illustrate the changing legal context of mental health practices within corrections, Sun cites important court cases and 2
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MENTALLY ILL OFFENDERS legislation that are categorized into 3 periods: the pre-civil rights movement, the civil rights movement, and 1980-present. The pre-civil rights movement is characterized as very broad, controlling, and lacking protection for patients. Essentially, mentally ill offenders had no say in regards to their treatment and criminal justice professionals used their own judgment to assess each case. During the civil rights movement, many legal cases upheld individual rights granted by the Constitution that limited government power and regulated the use of the mental health system as a means of unwillingly taking mentally disordered offenders from their communities. These legal cases were built upon the principles of equal protection of the law, responsibility, and treatment. The last stage, 1980s-present, saw a transformation of the court’s perspective from rehabilitation to ‘just deserts’. As a result, stricter limitations were implemented on the release of mentally ill offenders, regardless of the offender’s personal freedoms, in order to protect the community. Sun concludes the article with suggestions for conducting effective intervention and treatment programs, analogous to the current trend of mental health care for offenders (Sun, 2010). Incarceration Rates of the Mentally Disordered
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2012 for the course ECO 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Texas State.

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soci3150 research paper - Running Head: MENTALLY ILL...

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