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University of California Los Angeles Criminalization of the Mentally Ill Essay

Since the late 1950s, the number of beds housing the mentally ill have reduced significantly.  This has been called deinstitutionalization and has had many intended and many unintended consequences.  You are to provide a chronology of what has happened to the mentally ill requiring treatment since the late 1950’s, why it has occurred and the result of how the mentally ill have been treated.  It is important to provide an analysis of where the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill from primarily state hospitals has taken the our society.  Specifically, when addressing criminal justice issues, how has the deinstitutionalization of state hospitals specifically impacted the system.  It is to provide a complete analysis.

This is a hypothetical question.  Many persons who are mentally ill have ended up in confinement. What is your supposition as to why they have ended up in custody.  How many persons both male and female have ended up in custody. What treatment are the persons  who have been diagnosed with mentally ill provided while in custody.   What treatment should confinement facilities provide the persons who are in custody and diagnosed with mental illness.  Do most of the mentally ill persons get the treatment you think they should receive?  If not, why does this not occur?  What would need to happen for these offenders to get the treatment they need.  

  1. North Carolina has some specific requirements regarding involuntary commitments.  Provide a synopsis of the process in North Carolina.  What are some of the barriers to involuntary commitments.  What is the overall reason for involuntary commitments to exist.  And why are there so many barriers for persons to prevail in successfully petitioning for an involuntary commitment.  If the Court grants a petition for an involuntary commitment what is often the biggest issue in providing for the commitment.  In looking at bedspace so some research and determine how many treatment beds verses forensic beds are available in North Carolina?  

Using all of the material at your disposal, including the recently published Daniel Mears article, what is the impact of restrictive housing in managing mentally ill offenders in prison.  What are the issues of having someone with mental illness being placed in restrictive housing when they have a diagnosis of mental illness and what do many of those who oppose restrictive housing indicate happens to the mental health of any person placed in restrictive housing. Do you not hold the offender accountable?   Thinking about , Farmer vs. Brennan,  how is a prison administrator to manage a person where the population tells the Warden, you need to get that person off the compound before he is hurt.  Does the Warden ignore the population or does he or she put the person in restrictive (protective) custody?  How does the Warden justify either decision?  What are some alternatives to restrictive housing? What is the biggest barrier to implementing some of the alternatives mentioned in the literature.   What do you do in this particular case and what are some alternatives you may choose to use?  Remember to provide empirical evidence for your decision.  There are many articles  regarding restrictive housing available in the supplemental readings.  

  1. We have discussed the factor Medicaid played in the deinstitutionalization of mental health beds in this country.  Why was and is this such a factor in making decisions to remove the number of mental health beds available in any jurisdiction in the United States.  In North Carolina specifically, what is the grade provided regarding access to mental health treatment?  You need to be specific and provide information concerning the grade and why it was provided.  Do you agree or disagree with the grade and why?


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