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Drawing on interviews with correctional officials, mental health experts, prisoners and lawyers, this report seeks to illuminate that fate. constitutional framework against which their treatment should be assessed.
We identify the mentally ill in prison - their numbers, the nature of their illnesses, and the reasons for their incarceration. We review their access to mental health services and the treatment they receive.
"It is deplorable and outrageous that this state's prisons appear to have become a repository for a great number of its mentally ill citizens.
Persons who, with psychiatric care, could fit well into society, are instead locked away, to become wards of the state's penal system.
Prisons were never intended as facilities for the mentally ill, yet that is one of their primary roles today.
Many of the men and women who cannot get mental health treatment in the community are swept into the criminal justice system after they commit a crime.
Mental health, just as much as physical health, is a mainstay of life.Across the country there are competent and committed mental health professionals who struggle to provide good mental health services to those who need them.They face, however, daunting obstacles - including facilities and rules designed for punishment.Offenders who need psychiatric interventions for their mental illness should be held in secure facilities if they have committed serious crimes, but those facilities should be designed and operated to meet treatment needs.Society gains little from incarcerating offenders with mental illness in environments that are, at best, counter-therapeutic and, at worst dangerous to their mental and physical well-being.
They are neglected, accused of malingering, treated as disciplinary problems.