Inmate Mental Health Care, Treatment and Programs
University of Southern California
SOWR – 3/25/2013
Within the walls of our correctional institutions resides a growing population of individuals designated as SMI or Severely Mentally Ill. According to the American Psychiatric Association, an assessment conducted in 2000 estimated that about 20 percent of prisoners were seriously mentally ill, with 5 percent actively psychotic at any given time (Torrey, E. Fuller, Kennard, Aaron D., Eslinger, Don, Lamb, Richard, Pavle, James, 2000, p. 4). The Department of Corrections in Arizona has developed a current policy to assist in both identifying those jail inmates who may have a current diagnosis, as well as those as of yet undiagnosised, to insure that each individual is provided the opportunity to receive treatment during their time of incarceration. Addressed in Department Order1103, Inmate Mental Health Care, Treatment and Procedures are measures which support the criteria under which an incarcerated inmate will be evaluated, assessed, and treated during their time spent incarcerated inside the jail system. The purpose behind the analysis of this policy, is to raise the question surrounding how well does the correctional format address the needs of this specific population?
Issue, Policy, Procedure
A mental health policy is an official statement by a government or health authority that provides the overall direction for mental health by defining vision, values, principles, and objectives, and by establishing a broad model for action to achieve that vision (National Institute of Corrections, 2013, p.2) The mandates surrounding Department Order 1103 have become a significant topic for discussion in Arizona as the current jail population continues to rise each year. This policy addresses the MTU (men’s treatment unit) as well as WTU (women’s treatment unit)...