Mental Courts Should Handle Mentally Ill offenders... NOT prisons.
Mass Incarceration Prison System Issues

Studies Show Prison Makes Mentally Ill Inmates Become More Unstable Criminals

Several studies point to the fact that prisons do not help mentally ill offenders in any way. The studies show further that mentally ill inmates become worse off. This increases recidivism.

This means they often return more to prison and the government end up spending more to increase them. One of these studies was carried out by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Read Encourage Life, Not Death By Suicide

Mentally ill inmates are trapped in ways other prisoners can't understand.
Mentally ill inmates are trapped in ways other prisoners can’t understand. Image Source: US Prison Culture

Unfair Prison Treatments Disconnects Mentally Ill Inmates

Mentally sane, agile and alert people leave the prison system wholly changed in most cases. This means that mentally stable inmates find prisons very inconvenient and challenging.

Some enter sane, but leave insane. If sane offenders can find prison challenging, what about mentally challenged offenders? Studies have revealed that prisons agitate mentally ill inmates and cause them more mental harm.

Dustin DeMoss of Huffington Post noted that the Departments of Corrections in the US tend to favor incarceration for persons that demonstrate “perceived or misunderstood mental illness.” To this end, Stuart Grassian, a psychiatrist, observed that nearly a third of inmates placed in solitary confinement end up becoming “actively psychotic and/or acutely suicidal.”

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Mental Health Courts Should Be the First Step for Mentally Ill Inmates

Mental Courts Should Handle Mentally Ill offenders... NOT prisons.
Mental Courts Should Handle Mentally Ill offenders… NOT prisons. Image Source: Care2

Solitary confinement in prisons worsens the conditions of persons who are already mentally ill. In order to help out mentally ill offenders, experts suggest mental health courts as the first recourse.

The mental health courts provide mentally ill offenders with treatments that alleviate their mental health conditions; rather than rushing off to unfavorable court procedures.

To buttress the benefits of mental health courts for mentally ill offenders, a study carried out by Urban Institute reveals it reduces recidivism. Criminal court proceedings tend to cause released offenders to return to prison, but not after they have gone through mental health courts.

 This is the more reason why US prisons must put rehabilitative practices that would not dehumanize inmates in place. Rather than subject an unstable inmate to inhumane treatments, it is better to rehabilitate them for better health and re-entry.

Charles Omedo
Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes prison news for loved ones of inmates on the Prison Rideshare Network.