By Pyerse Dandridge
Author: Subprime Felon: Inside Federal Prison Camp
Mental health issues prior to and after incarceration are likely components to recidivism rates. It is reported that over half of male inmates have at least one mental disorder. Because of this, it is highly likely that they will recidivate.
Mental health issues can present prior to incarceration and be a cause for the actions the defendant makes. However, it is very difficult to win a case by pleading insanity. Studies show less than 1% of those who plead insanity actually are acquitted and sentenced to psychiatric care. Of those who receive help upon their admittance to psychiatric care, it is reported that over half are less likely to reoffend. However, of those who show signs of mental illness and are sentenced to prison time, their likelihood to recidivate increases exponentially.
The problem found with ongoing support after release from incarceration is the expense. The cost for psychiatric is seemingly outweighing the cost per inmate in correctional institutions. However, if recidivism is truly a problem the criminal system wishes to avoid, ongoing support and care after release should remain a priority. Institutionalization provides a steady way of life for men inside, however, when they are released, those with mental disorders are pushed back out into society and expected to be completely rehabilitated; when in actuality they are unable to function in a society that has extremely high expectations.
It is reported that those with mental health disorders are more likely to reoffend than those who are released who have no mental disorders. Because of this, it is clear that psychiatric care could provide real hope for those who have very little opportunity to walk a more righteous path post-release. In these psychiatric facilities, these men are treated as patients, and the medical professionals conduct their care with the individuals as patients; rather than prisoners. Studies have shown that this form of rehabilitation has proven to prevent recidivism and allow proper diagnosis and resolutions; rather than pushing individuals back out into an environment where they have no other options.
Ongoing support would provide a stable environment for those who have been institutionalized. Though the cost may be high monetarily, how can that really compare to the victims that may suffer due to the lack of support and stability of these men? There will be losses in certain areas, but if the criminal justice system would take into consideration the decreased rates in recidivism after receiving ongoing support for mental health disorders, the results would be highly favorable when looking at the bigger picture.