Legal Options When You Have a Mental Illness in Prison
A prison sentence, regardless of length, can be difficult for anyone to endure. If you have a mental illness, prison can become a nightmare. Mental health funding in the state and around the country has plummeted and most state prisons lack the staffing and funding to adequately care for those with a mental illness. Unfortunately, that means that hundreds of inmates with mental illnesses may lose out on vital treatments. Luckily, there are options if you suffer from a mental illness and you are incarcerated.
Prison Inmates and Mental Illnesses/Conditions
State-funded mental health institutions have slowly been closing their doors and most of their patients were not followed up on or given proper treatment. Instead, most mentally ill patients were then funneled through the criminal system.
According to a 2006 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, 64 percent of inmates, 56 percent of prison inmates and 45 percent of federal inmates have some sort of mental illness or mental health problem.
There are over two million Americans currently incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails. Providing mental health services to more than half of a prison population is very difficult – if not impossible for the justice system to maintain. Many prisons are forced to use solitary confinement for their inmates that suffer from a mental illness so that they can keep them away from the general population. This is, however, one of the worst punishments that can be given to those suffering from manic-depressive disorders or Schizophrenic conditions.
Receiving Mental Health Services During Incarceration
If you have a mental illness or condition, there are services available that you may be able to receive during your incarceration. Currently, the Federal Bureau of Prisons does offer mental health treatment via a staff of psychologists and licensed psychiatrists. This group also offers forensic services to the courts – including evaluations for mental illness.
Unfortunately, these services are only available to those incarcerated in federal prisons. However, the National Institute of Corrections also has created their own state and local correctional care programs for those in local jails and prisons. These programs are still underway and developing.
Prison and jail is no place for those suffering from severe mental illnesses. Inmates should have access to mental illness treatments – and it is important that inmates realize they do have rights regardless of whether or not they are incarcerated. If you have a condition that requires treatment, your defense attorney can ensure that you receive the treatment you need to maintain optimal mental health.
Receive a Fair Defense – Contact The Armstrong Law Group, P.A. Today
If you have been arrested for a crime and suffer from a mental illness, do not hope that the prison or jail systems will provide you with the care you need. Instead, hire a defense attorney that can assist you with your case and negotiate with prosecutors to ensure your mental illness is addressed. Contact The Armstrong Law Group, P.A. today for a consultation at 904-356-8618 or contact us online.