Mental Illness In The Criminal Justice System

Quite possibly, this plea is considered by every would be offender. It has been used by many to escape the harsh punishment that would be given to a person fully in control of their mental faculties. Though they aren’t entirely freed, they do receive a softer sentence if they can prove that they are or was mentally incapacitated at the time of the crime. Despite this clause being exploited, many studies have shown that individuals and families with a history of mental illness are, on average, arrested more than those from sound psychological backgrounds.

Our society

Because our society tends to shun and alienate those with mental disabilities, it is often quite difficult for those with more subtle, silents demons in their minds to seek help and counseling for their conditions. As a result, their are many individuals walking around freely with issues that they do not know how to deal with and so they tend to express themselves in ways that are both dangerous and harmful to themselves. In some environments, these individuals can be bred into serial killers, mass murders, rapist and the usual selection of freakish criminal behavior.

In Prisons

Prisons are inhabited by convicts from all walks of life. A bank robber may share a facility with a drug dealer or rapist and crime of choice aside, studies have shown that at least 10% of all inmates suffer from one form of psychological disorder or another. Experts say that this reflects the poor quality of mental health care that exists in our society where had these individuals been properly diagnosed and treated as a child, they may not have grown up to be such violators to society.

Humans are complex organisms and we have varying needs. A large part of healthy development as a child revolves around love and care from parents and siblings and if this environment is absent, it can have a negative impact on the child’s psyche. Aside from this, many activates that are not harmful others are shunned by society leaving interested individuals no choice but to engage themselves behind the scenes, creating a seclusive individual that doesn’t understand how others live.

We are often quite comfortable categorizing aspects of life however after categorization, we often discard the bad groups and proceed as if they are no longer a factor. This has proven to be true on many occasion so maybe it is time society as a whole restructured its approach to dealing with unique individuals.


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