Us sedating dangerous prisoners
Without the necessary care, mentally ill prisoners suffer painful symptoms and their conditions can deteriorate.
They are afflicted with delusions and hallucinations, debilitating fears, extreme and uncontrollable mood swings.
Our research also indicates the persistence in many prisons of deep-rooted patterns of neglect, mistreatment, and even cavalier disregard for the well-being of vulnerable and sick human beings.
A federal district judge, referring in 1999 to conditions in Texas' prisons, made an observation that is still too widely applicable: Whether because of a lack of resources, a misconception of the reality of psychological pain, the inherent callousness of the bureaucracy, or officials' blind faith in their own policies, the [corrections department] has knowingly turned its back on this most needy segment of its population.
In the most extreme cases, conditions are truly horrific: mentally ill prisoners locked in segregation with no treatment at all; confined in filthy and beastly hot cells; left for days covered in feces they have smeared over their bodies; taunted, abused, or ignored by prison staff; given so little water during summer heat waves that they drink from their toilet bowls.
A prison expert recentlydescribed one prison unit as "medieval – cramped, unventilated, unsanitary – it will make some men mad and mad men madder." Suicidal prisoners are left naked and unattended for days on end in barren, cold observation cells.
Across the country there are competent and committed mental health professionals who struggle to provide good mental health services to those who need them.
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.
In the United States, there are three times more mentally ill people in prisons than in mental health hospitals, and prisoners have rates of mental illness that are two to four times greater than the rates of members of the general public.
Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States."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. An estimated seventy thousand are psychotic on any given day.
Persons who, with psychiatric care, could fit well into society, are instead locked away, to become wards of the state's penal system. Yet across the nation, many prison mental health services are woefully deficient, crippled by understaffing, insufficient facilities, and limited programs. Many of them suffer from serious illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. The rate of mental illness in the prison population is three times higher than in the general population.The report is based on more than two years of research and hundreds of interviews with prisoners, corrections officials, mental health experts and attorneys and makes recommendations on services and regulations that would assist and protect mentally ill prisoners. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Somewhere between two and three hundred thousand men and women in U. prisons suffer from mental disorders, including such serious illnesses as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression.But doing time in prison is particularly difficult for prisoners with mental illness that impairs their thinking, emotional responses, and ability to cope.