Mental Illness In Prison Essay

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The central debate over mental illness is not about its existence, but rather over how to define it (Christian Perring, 2010). Issues of mental illness intersect with important questions about responsibility and what consequences a mentally ill person should be tried with. There becomes a fine line when deciding whether to place a mentally ill person who has committed a crime into a prison or a psychiatric ward. With the tens of thousands of mentally ill that are positioned in prisons, physicians are torn by the difficulty of the segregation unit. The mentally ill may be incapable at times to psychologically make appropriate decisions for themselves but keeping a mentally ill prisoner in confinement over consecutive amounts of time violates…show more content…
Nevertheless, it defies every physician’s ethical responsibility as a medical provider. It has been brought to many physicians’ attention that U.S. prison officials have progressively embraced solitary confinement to punish and control difficult or dangerous prisoners. This alone, is enough for many physicians to face a challenge of medical ethics and could eventually jeopardize their license if nothing is done. Over thousands of prisoners spend years locked up 23 to 24 hours a day in small cells that frequently have solid steel doors. It has gotten to the point where mental patients in prisons are handcuffed and regularly shackled every time they leave their cells. Terms such as: segregation, solitary confinement, and isolation will be used frequently to describe these conditions of confinement (Jeffrey Metzner, 2010). These types of restraints could cause psychological effects including anxiety, anger, cognitive disturbances, depression, perceptual distortions, obsessive thoughts, paranoia, and psychosis. Many negative effects of solitary confinement mainly exist in patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder (Jeffrey Metzner,
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