The federal and state criminal justice has correctional systems which are responsible for overseeing a wide array of programs. These programs play the role of rehabilitating, correcting and incarcerating individuals found guilty of crimes. According to Naidoo and Mkize, (2012), a correctional facility is a substitute of a penal institution. Such facilities are also called rehabilitation centers or incarceration centers. These facilities are synonymous with prisons and jails. They detain individuals in enclosed settings. These people have in one way or another engaged in forms of crimes that are against the laws of the United States. The United States correctional systems play the vital role of monitoring the inmates confined in prisons. The system consists of professional individuals who perform the function of reforming and rehabilitating offenders. To execute their responsibilities flawlessly, they organize educational opportunities and counseling programs to prepare the inmates or offenders to integrate back into the society (Naidoo& Mkize, 2012).
Mental illness in the prisons is one of the significant challenges that correctional centers undergo. Corrigan, Morris, Michaels, Rafacz, and Rusch (2012) defines mental illness as a medical or health situation which comprises variations in rationality, emotion or behavior. This condition associates itself with grief and complications operational in societal, work or domestic accomplishments. Usually, mental wellbeing is the basis of thinking, communication, education, and self-worth. It is a health condition, just like heart diseases. The sickness does not victimize, and anyone can be a victim, irrespective of age, earnings, social status, religion, ethnicity, or even race.
There is an increasing number of men and women who come to the prisons with mental illness. In most cases, these individuals adapt when they come to correctional centers. Mentally ill offenders in the correctional facilities usually suffer from a variety of disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. Schizophrenia is the incapability to contemplate, process emotions in an environment where people conduct themselves acceptably because their attentions are not in a position to respond to stimuli in daily life (Corrigan et al., 2012). Those with mental illness when convicted find themselves in correctional centers. Their state in prisons is questionable. As a result, this paper looks at the state of mental illness in the correctional facilities.
Types of Correctional Systems
Correctional systems in the United States have an extensive variety of executions in the criminal justice system of United States. The Department of Justice plays the obligatory role of managing the entire correctional system. There is a wide variety of correctional centers that play the role of rehabilitation and correction. These institutions make efforts to prepare the prisoners with the essential skills to stay effectively in the society. They also aim to change the fundamental complications that directed the criminality of the wrongdoer. Welch, (2013) identifies three major types of correctional systems. They include jails, prisons and solitary confinements.
Jails- these are confinement areas where suspected offenders are enclosed. These individuals, in most cases, are awaiting trial or sentencing. They are confined in prisons while waiting for their court sessions. These individuals failed to secure bonds or bails. The justice system dictates that one is innocent until proven guilty. In this regard, people who are in jails are not guilty of any crimes. They are suspects, and the courts usually release them if found not guilty.
Prisons-These are containment areas for those people convicted. The institutions are for punishments and reforms. Prisons are one of the centers that play a correctional role. The prisons have several classifications. There are high, medium, low and minimum prisons. The ratings correspond to the seriousness of the crime committed by the convicted offenders. The rating also depends on the intention and the capacity of sentenced individuals to hurt others when serving their sentences.
Solitary Confinement- these are isolated cells for inmates who become violent and pose a threat to other prisoners. These cells provide a remedy in such situations. Individuals placed in solitary confinement usually portray destructive behavior. The cells cut the communication of such individuals with other people.
The positive cultures in the jails and prisons have developed an ethic of respectful conduct and interactive communication that aids the convicts and the staff. The cultures that correctional officers impose are to enforce the rules and regulations to produce individuals who can easily integrate back into the society (Andrews & Bonta, 2014).
Cases of Mental illness in the Correctional Centers
Besides the educational programs that correctional centers provide to equip the inmates with the skills that are vital to surviving in the society, there are programs that the facilities offer to change the glitches which might have steered the inmates' law-breaking. Morgan, Flora, Kroner, Mills, Varghese, and Steffan (2012) assert that there is an increasing number of individuals who have mental illness in mental institutions. Also, some individuals develop forms of mental illness while in prisons. They are most likely to be released from the prisons with some psychological disease when released from the jails.
There are increased numbers of incarcerated individuals who are suffering from mental illness. There are growing concerns and questions over their treatments in the rehabilitation system. In most occasions, when a person who is a victim of mental illness commits a crime or break any form of laws, they are immediately taken to the prisons instead of being evaluated and placed in a mental health facility to help them in coping up and adjusting to their environments (Morgan, et al., 2012). The primary focus of the justice system is always the crimes that incarcerated individuals have committed. As a result of this, there is need to focus on the treatment of mental illness of such inmates. The primary reason for this is because the system usually treats their wellbeing as a secondary necessity.
There is a high prevalence of psychological disorders among prisoners in the United States. A survey conducted by Fazel, Hayes, Bartellas, Clerici, & Trestman, (2016) suggests that among over ten million prisoners in the world, there is a growing prevalence of mental disorders. The study notes that prisoners are at high risk of self-destruction, suicide, vehemence, and victimization as a result of mental health. Such conditions are usually under detected and treated below par. According to the study conducted by Fazel et al., (2016), the following table shows the frequency of diverse diagnoses of grown-up prisoners about mental disorders.
Table 1: The frequency of diverse diagnoses of grown-up inmates based on methodical reviews
The above table shows that mental disorders are problematic to prisoners for similar reasons. The table shows that there is an extraordinary frequency of psychological disorder among convicts. The survey found out that one in seven prisoners are suffering from depression, psychosis, or other forms of psychological disorders (Fazel et al., 2016). The study proved high amounts of comorbidity amongst mental ailment and substance abuse.
Forms of Mental Illness
In correctional facilities, there are different categories of psychological conditions under mental illness. Rogers and Pilgrim (2014) identify the following are common forms.
Such individuals respond to specific objects or situations with fear. They also react with physical signs of anxiety or panic. The physical symptoms include increased heartbeat rates and sweating. Diagnosis of such a disorder is possible if the reaction of the individual is not suitable for the condition. Types of anxiety disorders that are common among inmates include the generalized anxiety disorder, a panic disorder, and different forms of phobias. Phobias refer to the fear of something. Various types of phobias include mysophobia (fear of germs), monophobia (fear of being alone) among many others.
These conditions are also as sentimental syndromes. The complications fall under mental illness, and there are individuals in the correctional facilities who suffer from disorders classified under this category. Mood syndromes include dejection, the bipolar condition, and cyclothymic disorders.
These conditions include partial consciousness and intelligence. There are two mutual indications. These include hallucinations and delusions. Victims of illusions see images or listen to sounds that are not real. Delusions involve false fixed dogmas that the victim consents to, notwithstanding the substantiation to the contrary. An instance of the psychotic condition is schizophrenia.
Personality conditions also affect inmates. Persons with these conditions have life-threatening and uncompromising personality traits that cause distress to the victims. Such disorder causes problems in the prison setting and interferes with the inmates' social relationship with other inmates. The reason behind this is the individual's pattern of thinking and behavior which in most cases is different from other people's expectations. These disorders interfere with the normal function of the person. Examples of people with personality disorders are those inmates who are usually identified to be antisocial, those suffering from obsessive-compulsive neurosis and the paranoid personality disorder (Gudjonsson, Wells & Young, 2012).
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
It is a condition that develops in an individual as a result of traumatic and terrifying events. Such events include sexual assault or physical assault. Other causes of a post-traumatic stress syndrome include the unexpected passing of loved one or natural tragedies. The inmate might find it difficult to come to terms with the death and may see it very hard to adjust and cope up with the regular prison environment.
Psychosomatic disorders are also known as somatic symptom disorders. Such people experience physical symptoms of illness or pain accompanied with an excessive and inconsistent level of distress. The sickness is regardless of whether or not a doctor is in a position to establish the medical cause of these symptoms.
Some inmates suffer from dissociative disorders. These people experience unembellished turbulences or fluctuations in memories, consciousness, distinctiveness and the overall consciousness of themselves and their environs. The confined inmates who suffer from this form of mental illness are believed to be victims of overwhelming stress that comes as a result of traumatic events such as accidents and disasters. This disorder is also called multiple personality disorder.
Mental Health Counseling in Correction Facilities
Many people who come to prisons with mental illness usually find themselves living in conditions that can make their psychological condition to worsen. For instance, situations like segregated isolations where the individual is isolated from the other prisoners because of their disruptive behavior may not entirely help but worsen their conditions. As a result, there is need to help these people cope up and adjust to the situations that they are. They...
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