mentally ill offenders

Posted: November 27th, 2013

Mentally Ill Offenders


Mental illness is a disease that affects the mind due to subjective distress. Additionally, it is a disability that occurs in the growth of somebody especially in the brain. Mentally ill offenders are literally those people who perform crimes and they are mentally ill. When they perform any criminal activity, they are taken and charged in a court of law and later they are incarcerated. Incarceration can be defined as when a person who has been convicted of a crime is sentenced to serve in the jail for a very long time. Often, people argue whether mentally offenders should be incarcerated or not. When this people are incarcerated, it is difficult for them to adjust. Therefore, they are given special treatment so that they can be able to adjust.

How do mentally ill offenders adjust to incarceration?

When the mentally ill offenders are incarcerated, they usually have a hard time in adjusting to there new surrounding since they are not used to it. At first, they are in shock since they don not know how to survive in this new surrounding. This can even course more damage than good to the mentally ill people (Fellner, 2007). However, most of them receive psychiatric treatment so that they can be able to adjust well when they are incarcerated. Additionally, doctors and psychiatrists have argued that when they are incarcerated, they should not be taken to solitary confinement because it will only worsen things than making them better.

In order to understand this better, the mentally ill offenders are usually examined after incarceration so that it can be established how they adjust. They are found to be so negative about the place and usually they see it as if they are being tortured. Therefore, most of the time when they are incarcerated, they tend to fight this torture so that they can be able to adjust to the new environment. In addition, they become abusive and anybody who tries to attack them makes them violent. For that reason, they use violence as a means of survival so that they can be able to adjust to the new environment.

What special treatment are the mentally ill offenders provided with?

It has been found that this people need special treatment so that they can be able to adjust and live very well in incarceration. Additionally, they provide them with special treatment so that they can be able to heal instead of becoming worse. However, most of the times, this people are not provided with any special treatment. The special treatment that they are provided with is medical care (Fellner, 2007). In the different correctional facilities, there are psychiatrists who offer them with medication so that they could be able to adapt. However, due to lack of resources and training to the staff who attend to this people, they find themselves lacking any special treatment apart from medication and that is when it is available.

How does the public view these mentally ill offenders?

When it comes to how the public view this people, it usually varies from the difference in age and gender. Young people often think that the mentally ill offenders are not responsible for their acts because if they were given treatment at an early age they would become better. Additionally, they also say that when the mentally get treatment they can turn out to be productive people in the society. Moreover, majority of these young adults say that this people should not be tried in court of laws since it is not their own liking that they performed the various crimes but the illness that drove them to perform the criminal act (Lambert, Baker and Ventura, 2008).

In addition to the above, women are more likely to be lenient on the different mentally ill offenders arguing that this people did commit these criminal activities in their right sound mind. Additionally, the women say that this people have their right to treatment therefore, instead of being incarcerated they should be taken to treatment facilities. Similar to the young people, the women also say that if this people are treated they can be very productive people in the society. Therefore, the young and the women feel that this people should be treated with care and when they are charged in a court of law, the judgment should be lenient.

On the other hand, the old people have a different opinion. They think that most this people only pretend to be sick. They say that mental illness has become an excuse of committing crimes. Therefore, there should be no lenient judgment for them. In addition to this, the men also see this people to be a danger to the society. They said that since this people do not know what they are doing, they could harm somebody very seriously; therefore, they should be kept in a place from the society until they are healed. The men and the old people thought that this people should be incarcerated and that they should not be treated differently from the others (Lambert, Baker and Ventura, 2008).

A case scenario of a mentally ill offender

In the article, “mentally ill offenders strain the juvenile system” there is a story about a mentally ill offender who strains the juvenile system. There is a young mentally ill offender, Donald, who the judge found guilty of the crimes that he had committed but due to his situation, the judge only sentenced him to the juvenile facilities (Moore, 2009). When he was in the system, the young man’s term was extended due to the assaults that he committed while in the juvenile facility. Additionally in the article, there are other stories of the same nature.

At first, it was hard for Donald to adjust to the new surrounding due to his illness. Most of the time, he used to scream obscenities, especially when he was in the solitary confinement (Moore, 2009). He used violence as his mode of defense in the juvenile system. For this reason, instead of being rehabilitated, he moved from better to worse. He assaulted a guard and his term was extended due to his violence. Additionally, his hands are filled with marks of self-inflicted injuries, which could be avoided if Donald was simply treated.

Additionally, in accordance to the article, there is no special treatment given to Donald so that he could be cured. Donald was surviving without any treatment despite the fact that it was evidently seen, even by the judge that he was very sick. In addition to this, he was being treated like the rest of the juveniles who were there in the court (Moore, 2009). Moreover, in the article, there is also another juvenile who was being accorded special treatment, that is, therapy. Soon after it was stopped, he turned and became violent.


Therefore, I believe that the relevant authorities should ensure that this people are accorded with the right special medication. Moreover, they should try to prevent this by treating the different mentally ill people before they turn out to be offenders since there is a cure. This will save both the mentally ill person and the state a lot of money that could be used in charging and incarcerating this people. Additionally, they should train the different people who take care of this people when they are incarcerated. In addition, I think the mentally ill offenders should be given treatment while they are incarcerated because they have a right of being treated and when they are not treated, they move from bad to worse instead of the other way round. I also believe they should be given treatment when they are incarcerated because they are both a danger to the fellow inmates and themselves. I chose this population because I want to further my education as a psychiatrist and I feel that it is our social responsibility to take care of this people. Moreover, I chose this topic because of my job. I usually encounter this people when performing my duties and I believe that this people should be taken in a mental hospital instead of being incarcerated because there is a cure and they have chance of becoming productive people.



Fellner, J. (2007). Keep Mentally Ill Out of Solitary Confinement. The Huffinton post. Retrieved From:

Lambert, E. R., Baker, D. N., and Ventura, L. (2008). A Preliminary Study of Views toward the Mentally Ill and the Criminal Justice System: A Survey of College Students. Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Research and Education, 2, 1-4.

Moore, S. (2009). Mentally Ill Offenders Strain Juvenile System. The New York Times. Retrieved From:


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