The purpose of this research was to explore the issue of mental health in the prison system. A large portion of the prison population is mentally ill. The prison environment poses special challenges to these individuals. Treating mental illness in a prison environment can be difficult as there are many factors that must be considered in deciding the best way to handle mentally ill offenders. Mental health courts show promise in dealing with these issues, but methods vary quite significantly from region to region. A literature review was conducted to provide an overview of the types of mental illnesses seen in prison populations, the types of crimes committed by those with a mental illness, treatment options, efficacy of treatment, and recidivism of mentally ill offenders. Data from a 2000 California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation report on California prisoners and parolees and data from the California Department of Mental Health were used to run a Pearson R correlation matrix. It was predicted that there would be a higher correlation between mental illness in the general population and incarceration than socioeconomic class, in this case individuals below the poverty level, and incarceration. The results supported the hypothesis which highlights the prevalence of the issue of mental illness in the prison system. It is important to ensure that those with mental disorders are receiving appropriate treatment while incarcerated. Effective treatment may have the potential to help the individual better adapt to prison life and possibly have a better outlook upon release into the community and more research should be done to explore this possibility.
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Saunders, W. Steven
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Pacecca, Melinda, "Mental illness in the prison system: exploring the issues and possible solutions" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1448.