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There always have been issues to do with the mental health system and also with criminal justice system

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Prison population has increased by over 50% since the Richmond Report on deinstitutionalisation (Australian Bureau of Statistics) with 74% of prisoners in NSW suffering from a psychiatric disorder (Corrections Health Service). This has caused great concerns with mental illness in the criminal justice system. Mental institutions were 'warehouses' for the mentally ill and failed to meet basic human rights requirements and treatment. Yet as a result of institutions closing, more mentally ill people began filling the prison system. Something needs to be done about mental illness in prisons and there can be two possible solutions. Firstly, mentally ill people who have committed crimes are still criminals therefore treatment that is required can be fulfilled while in prison. Also, prison staff are uneducated in areas of mental health and illness, so staff should be well equipped and educated to deal with such people and adequate diagnosis must be given and early rather than later. Treatment in prison can be described through many of the perspectives. The second option is to never allow mentally ill people to be in prison, through proper diagnosis and treatment which can be described through many of the perspectives in specialised care and rehabilitation. ...read more.


with him, subsequently locking him up in an isolated cell for up to twenty three hours a day for a period of about two years. (See Appendix 4) Being treated within prison would benefit the person and their illness through many of the perspectives. Through the Behaviourist perspective, the punishment of being in prison as a consequent of an act should modify the person's behaviour into knowing that crime is wrong and to not do it again. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy could be achieved by visiting psychiatrists to the prison. In Humanistic psychology a person can learn that committing crime is not a way to proceed to self-actualisation, instead a step down - therefore, from this mistake they can learn and come closer to congruency. Biological psychology looks at medication as a treatment which can be administered during a prison sentence. Prison is a better alternative for the institutions of the past where every mentally ill person was treated badly. Although the Richmond report led to the shut down of psychiatric asylums, Richmond himself is calling for an alternative treatment model. (See Appendix 3) Part of Richmond's report was the counter balance of community based care but the government ignored this part of the report therefore leaving the mentally ill to fend for themselves. ...read more.


An example of this is demonstrated again in the case of Scott Simpson. Simpson was meant to be on anti-psychotic medication but in autopsy he had nothing but Panadol in his system. (See Appendix 4) This demonstrates the need for specialised care to deal with mental illness even if only medication is required. Prisons cannot cope with the demands of mental illness treatment therefore specialised psychiatric care should replace prison cells for the mentally ill. Both fields of mental health and the criminal justice system are concerned with prediction and control of behaviour. Psychology looks to understand behaviour and the criminal justice system seeks to regulate behaviour. There needs to be better communication between these two systems with a better model in place. The current system is failing many people with the mistreatment of mentally ill people in prisons, many of whom should not even be there but are put there because it is easy and cheaper for the government rather than providing more available beds in psychiatric wards. The better solution to this problem is specialised treatment in specialised facilities to not only treat but to prevent people with a mental illness committing a crime. It may be more costly but it is for the well being of mentally ill people in society which should be the main aim of the two systems. ...read more.

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