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The prison and jail do not offer an ideal environment. Anybody who is incarcerated develops some level of stress. Mental ill people are already in a vulnerable condition and incarcerating such a person will only exacerbate the situation. This is because the patient loses essential treatment time and develops stress as a result of being institutionalized. Effective psychiatric care requires continuity and therefore disruption will almost certainly lead to failed treatment. People suffering from mental disorders can be traumatized as a result of incarceration.

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Identification of Mentally Ill People

It is difficult to identify mentally ill people who are under psychiatric medication because they may not show symptoms of illness. Inmates who experience a delay in treatment will have difficulty resuming to normal life in mentally healthy conditions. Psychiatric medication is very sensitive and disrupted intake may lead to the development of resistance. This may have a bearing on both emotional and clinical perspectives. It is important to note that in extreme cases the failure to treat these patients may put other prisoners and the prisoner wanders life in jeopardy. It is also important to note that most mentally ill persons have served jail terms at least once or twice. Initial experiences in jail may lead to aggressive behavior.

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The community experiences negative implications when mentally ill people are arrested for non-violent behavior and then dumped in jail instead of according to them proper medical care. This is because law enforcement officers such as the police spend unnecessary time responding to non-violent disturbances and leave much more serious crimes unattended to. In addition due to stigma and stress induced by incarceration the mentally ill inmates develop a bad attitude which may lead to bad behavior leading to extended prison time.

Criminalization of Mental Illnesses Is Harmful

They can also be released while requiring more health care attention. The community pays up for this health care cost. Therefore it is important to note that society suffers from the postponement of treatment for the mentally ill. Society today associates mental illnesses with lawlessness and criminal activity. People who need care may refuse to seek medication due to fear of stigmatization. Criminalization of mental illnesses is harmful to the families because they have to contend with the disappointment and shame of being involved with the criminal system. There is a need to educe-ate the public that mental illnesses should not be associated with criminal activity. They need to know that these illnesses can be treated.

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