HSB Criminology Treating the

Discussion question: Since the 1960’s, our country has seen a shift in the treatment of the
mentally ill. In an effort to reduce the number of patients in mental
hospitals, the federal government deinstitutionalized this population
and directed them back into the community. Fifty years later, many who
were once directed to mental hospitals are now being “treated” in our
prisons and jails. Discuss the societal impact of such a shift and how
this happened. What are the pros and cons of deinstitutionalizing our
mentally ill? Answer here:

How safe is it for mentally ill people to freely interact with people? Over the years, the government has opted for deinstitutionalization to enhance the lives of mentally ill patients and decongest hospitals. However, this shift has impacted various effects in societies, some positive and others negative. Some pros of the movement include better quality of life for the disabled people (Bredewold et al., 2020). This happens because of better changes in life conditions, routines, accommodation, and facilities. Also, the change impacts improved skills and better quality care. The mentally ill people develop restrictive and self-control behavior amid ordinary people, enhancing their general skills (Bredewold et al., 2020). Additionally, when sent back to the community, members take a broader initiative to offer personalized care to psychologically disturbed people, which offers better care than that generally received in public facilities (Bredewold et al., 2020).
Deinstitutionalization does not always yield positive results as it is associated with cons like negative health impacts, criminal behavior, and victimization, burden to families and societies, and redistribution (Bredewold et al., 2020). The negative health impacts happen through physical attacks and the inability for continuous supervision of self-care and healthcare. When isolated, mentally ill people are prone to substance abuse and suicide (Bredewold et al., 2020). The connection between crime and deinstitutionalization explains that mentally ill people are more violent and often engage in substance abuse activities, making them perfect criminals. Also, most of them are vulnerable and voiceless, making them excellent targets and victims of criminal activities in societies. When mentally ill people are sent back to the society they became huge responsibilities to the community and their families which can be tiresome and a burden financially, emotionally, physically and psychologically. Finally, redistribution is a negative impact because critical psychological cases cannot be effectively treated in societies as easily as mild cases. Deinstitutionalization has multiple effects on society, some beneficial, some negative, and some have mixed effects.

1- Adrian: That’s
a very difficult question to answer. If someone who is extremely
dangerous and has mental issues, there’s not much we can do with
considering our safety. I think the best thing to do is to call the
authorities and try to explain the situation as best we can so they know
this person might hurt themselves or others. With more training on how
to deal with mental illness, the police will know how to handle
individuals that have special needs. They will be able to defuse the
situation better than we can. We as a community need to start taking
mental illness more seriously for the safety of ourselves and others. Write a reply here….

2- Cassidy : Society felt that the mentally ill would receive a higher standard of
care if they were no longer placed in government run mental health
facilities. The facilities were often run similar ot prisons which did
not offer effective treatment for their patients. Additionally, the
patients had their rights as individuals revoked since they were not
able to make decisions on their healthcare. The shift had good
intentions by releasing the mentally ill back into society and giving
them the right to decide if seeking treatment was right for them,
however this created a huge influx of homeless who were now being
jailed. This put them into yet another institution where they would not
receive adequate treatment for their mental health. Furthermore, the
individuals being realsed to come to a facility by their own will are
missing out on additional medical treatment that they may need for their
physical well-being such as diabetes management. “The importance of
individualized care must become the emphasis of future efforts. If
families are unwilling to go to the treatment provider, then the service
planning tasks must go to the individual if this effort is to be
successful” (Regoli). Write a reply here….

3- Kathryn : Deinstitutionalization started in the 1960s, as a way to treat the
mentally ill by moving them out of state-run institutions and into
federally funded community health centers. According to The Balance,
this shift was done over the course of several years through the
implementation of acts such as the Community Mental Health Centers
Construction Act in 1963, the Mental Health Systems Act in 1980, along
with movements and movies that brought attention to how mental health
patients were mistreated. Pros about deinstitutionalization included
providing mental health patients with the proper treatment they needed,
while destigmatizing mental health as a whole. Cons were that there was
not enough funding for the federally funded community health centers,
and “the courts made it almost impossible to commit anyone against their
will”. I understand why the government does not allow committing people
against their will, however, I see the dilemma as we ask ourselves,
“how can we treat/help this person without violating their rights?”.
This is a prime example of how and why change is constant in terms of
how our government views and treats its people. Write a reply here….

4- Leslie : Ignoring proper treatment for individuals who are mentally ill can lead
to severe societal consequences and their individual growth leading to
more cons than pros. In an article by Curtice Flory MBA and Rose Marie
Friedrich they state “Evidence of system failure is apparent in the
increase in homelessness (1), suicide (2), and acts of violence among
those with severe mental illness (3). Those for whom
deinstitutionalization has failed are increasingly re-admitted to
hospitals. It is common to find persons who have been hospitalized 20
times over a 10 year period. Tragically, there are more persons with
mental illness in jails and prisons than there are in state hospitals
(4).” These 5 cons can fuel existing social problems such as those
mentioned; homelessness, increased suicide rates, overcrowded prisons,
higher violent crimes. Without properly treating mentally ill
individuals, throwing them into jails, the systems basically set these
individuals up for failure. They deserve more attention, special
treatment, and better approach methods, not the loss of
individualization which is what prisons are made for. Write reply here…

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