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Transcript of Mental illness
is, releasing people from psychiatric hospitals to reside and be treated in the
community – has been heralded by many as a step forward in the social acceptance
and respectful treatment of people with mental illness. With the advent
of new, more effective medications and better understanding of the range
and types of community supports people with mental illness require, many
people with mental illness live successfully in the community.
For a minority of people, usually those with multiple complex needs,
deinstitutionalization combined with a lack of comprehensive community support
systems has resulted in another type of ‘institutionalization,’ within prisons
and jails rather than hospitals.
This is only one of the factors leading to an increase in what is generally
known as the ‘criminalization of mental illness,’ i.e., where a criminal, legal
response overtakes a medical response to behaviour related to mental illness.
This is a distressing trend, with a number of contributing factors. Criminalization of Mental Illness Most people would agree that a person with mental illness should be treated
rather than punished. Police must be better trained to recognize symptoms of
mental illness and have the capacity to immediately refer to mental health
services instead of the criminal justice system. The courts must become more
educated on the issues and solutions for persons with mental illness, and the
corrections service must develop screening and appropriate treatment and care
for offenders with mental illness and ensure appropriate post-release support.
Most importantly, people with mental illness must have adequate and appropriate
support in the community in terms of housing, income, job skill development
and, above all, timely access to assessment and treatment through the
mental health system. What Needs to Change Ways Mental Illness is Criminalized Mental Illness
Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. Poem: Ashley Smith My Life
My life I no longer love
I’d rather be set free above
Get it over with while the time is right
Late some rainy night
Turn black as the sky and as cold as the sea
Say goodbye to Ashley
Miss me but don’t be sad
I’m not sad I’m happy and glad
I’m free, where I want to be
No more caged up Ashley
Wishing I were free
Free like a bird. Criminal Justice System
A series of organizations involved in apprehending, prosecuting, defending,sentencing, and jailing those involved in crimes- including law enforcement, attorneys, judges,courts of law, prisons Research consistently shows us that a person with mental illness is more likely
to be arrested for a minor criminal offence than a non-ill person. The majority
of these arrests are for crimes – such as causing a disturbance, mischief, minor
theft, failure to appear in court – directly or indirectly related to the mental
illness. The majority of these arrests are also initiated by a report from a member
of the public, rather than the police.
The range of mentally disordered offenders (i.e. persons with mental illness
convicted of an offence) currently in jails and prisons is somewhere between
15 to 40%; highly disproportionate to the occurrence of mental illness
in the population at large.
A number of factors contributing to the disproportionate incarceration of
persons with mental illness have been identified in research literature: Lack of sufficient community support including housing, income, and
mental health services. Persons with mental illness have a harder time
finding employment and housing, and maintaining consistent contact
with friends, relatives and treatment providers. It is estimated that 30%–
35% of Canada’s homeless population have a mental illness. Many become
isolated, homeless, hungry, and poor due to the symptoms of
The ‘Forensic’ label. Treatment is sometimes refused to persons who
have committed a criminal offence or have been previously incarcerated.
Hospital staff may refuse admission because it is considered a criminal
matter, or the person may be considered too dangerous or disruptive for
treatment by community resources – even if the offence for which the
person was arrested or convicted does not involve violence.
• Problems with treatment. Some persons with mental illness try numerous
treatments without success. Others refuse treatment because
they cannot accept that they have an illness, they dislike medication
side-effects, or due to symptoms of the illness itself. Lack of sufficient
housing, income, and support also interfere with the ability to maintain
treatment. • Lack of specialized cross-training for both criminal justice and mental
health professionals. Both systems need to provide information and
training to staff on understanding mental health and law enforcement
issues, respectively, in order to create successful collaboration.
• Lack of timely access to mental health assessment and treatment. Easy
access is necessary for early intervention and prevention of deterioration,
and also to provide law enforcement, courts, corrections, and communities
the ability to access appropriate treatment for individuals in a
timely way. Research also indicates that incarceration is more problematic for a person
with mental illness. People with mental illness also are more likely to be victimized
by others and may exhibit disruptive behaviour as a symptom of their
illness. Disciplinary measures including segregation or solitary confinement
can be highly traumatic and cause breakdown or psychosis for a person with
For a number of reasons, persons with mental illness are more likely to be
arrested, detained, incarcerated, and more likely to be disciplined, rather than
treated, while incarcerated. Once arrested and convicted, persons with mental
illness are more likely to be arrested and detained again, repeating the cycle. Criminalizining Mental Illness Symptoms High rate of substance abuse. Over 50% of people with mental illness
have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Co-occurring disorders
(mental illness and substance use disorder) are more difficult to treat
than either mental illness or substance abuse alone, and there are insufficient
treatment programs for the growing demand. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
-A person who is committing a crime or any offense because of states of mind or a brain disorder they require treatment, not punishment
- Jail or prison is never an optimal curative setting
-Develop and implement systems for untreated brain disorders Treatment while in correctional settings:
-States and communities have legal and ethical obligations to provide people with brain disorders with humane and effective treatment Training and education:
-Education about brain disorders at all levels of judicial and legal systems is crucial to the appropriate disposition of cases
- Judges, lawyers, police officers, correctional officers, parole and probation officers, law enforcement personnel, court officers, and emergency medical transport and service personnel should be required to complete at least 20 hours of training about these disorders
-Consumers and family members should be a part of this educational process. Violence:
-In the majority of cases, dangerous or violent acts committed by persons with brain disorders are the result of inappropriate treatment of their illness. Insanity defense:
-supports the retention of the "insanity defense"
-Favors the two-prong test that includes the volitional as well as the cognitive standard.
-Opposes the adoption of "guilty but mentally ill" statutes.
-supports systems that provide comprehensive, long-term care and supervision in hospitals and in the community to individuals found "not guilty by reason of insanity,"
-"Guilty except for insanity, or any other similar terminology used in state statutes pertaining to the insanity defense. Parole and probation, transitional services:
-States must adopt systems for assisting individuals with serious brain disorders who have served sentences
-Eligible for release on parole with appropriate treatment and services to aid their transition back into the community Death penalty:
-opposes the death penalty
-Even when the accused person is found fit to stand trial and is found criminally responsible for the criminal incident; the courts may consider their mental health condition during sentencing
-For both adults and youths, conditions can be attached to a non-custodial sanction, such as probation
-For youth, intensive support and supervision orders.
-One of these conditions can be to attend a mental health treatment program.
-Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), courts can sentence serious violent young offenders suffering from mental or psychological disorders to a specialized custodial sanction
-Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision order (IRCS), the court must also ensure that an individualized treatment plan has been developed for the young person Mental Illness: Mental illness is an inhabitable disease of the mind that if left untreated can and will cause destruction both physically and emotionally. Mental illness is when a person’s mind does not understand how to cope with the stresses of everyday life. They can be born this way with a mental impairment, or it can be caused by trauma. Schizophrenia: A psychotic disorder ones thinking, emotions and behaviour. It can include distorted thoughts and hallucinations as well as constant fear and paranoia. Insanity: A condition that includes many mental illnesses, insanity or insaneness is considered to be a derangement of the mind. Dissociative Identity Disorder (split personality disorder): when a person claims to have more than one personality state. DID is often accompanies with other mental illnesses such as depression or stress disorders. Bi Polar disorder consists of extreme mood swings and extreme changes in behaviour, it also includes extreme depression and can include suicidal thoughts as well is violent behaviour. Insanity plea: A plea in which the accused or defendant claims innocence due to mental incompetence. How are mental illness people treated in the Justice system?
. A process where alternatives for mental ill people arrested for minor offenses are available, with the objective to have mental health services without regular criminal justice trial and/or incarceration, treatment will hopefully reduce further offending and help the mentally ill with community support and treatment. Usually police will hold a mentally ill person for several hours then release them for the minor crime cycle to continue.
2. Takes one of three forms
. Pre-arrest or pre-booking-police use discretion in laying charges.
. Court Diversion- after booking but before arraignment programs that drop charges for eligible offenses if person goes into treatment.
. Mental Health Courts (MHC)- Has a dedicated judge, crown, defense and court support worker.
3. The mental illness defense (formally known as insanity plea)
Definition: A defense asserted by an accused in a criminal prosecution to avoid liability for the commission of a crime because, at the time of the crime, the person did not appreciate the nature or quality or wrongfulness of the acts. [Elaborate more on different defenses] How do the Canadian courts determine mental illness?
The M’Naghten Rules”(purely cognitive test for insanity that leaves out other mental states).
Assessment Order-court having jurisdiction over accused may order an assessment of the mental condition of accused.
Look up people who have committed murder with severe mental disabilities
An example of a man (with a severe mental disorder) cleared of murder.
Man in Abbotsford shot his wife three times burned the body declared not criminally responsible Actus Vs Mens Rea Insanity pleas are very common in many extreme criminal cases. When a person claims insanity they are stating that they were not in the proper state of mind when they committed such crime. They are stating they should not be held responsible for such behavior because they were not in control of themselves and were unable to make moral and ethical decisions.
It can be difficult to determine whether or not someone is a criminal, or if someone is suffering from some kind of mental illness. Most mental illnesses can be determined with specific tests for each mental illness. The difference between criminal behaviour and mental illness is that criminals are considered to be in a proper mind frame, and people suffering from insanity are unaware of their actions. There is a fine line between the two and determining whether or not someone is a criminal or if someone is mentally ill is very complicated. In some societies people who are mentally ill would be considered to be criminals, and people who are criminals may considered to be mentally ill. The way that the difference between criminal behavior and insanity can be told apart are through testing symptoms, past behaviour and the intent to commit crimes .Often someone who claims insanity is abnormal in a social sense and suffers from types of depression or learning disabilities of some kind. Mental illness often develops as a child or in the early adult years. The accused will undergo psychological assessments as well as undergo observations by professionals who know what to look for in someone who is mentally ill. Insanity pleas are very common in many extreme criminal cases. When a person claims insanity they are stating that they were not in the proper state of mind when they committed such crime. They are stating they should not be held responsible for such behavior because they were not in control of themselves and were unable to make moral and ethical decisions.
It can be difficult to determine whether or not someone is a criminal, or if someone is suffering from some kind of mental illness. Most mental illnesses can be determined with specific tests for each mental illness. The difference between criminal behaviour and mental illness is that criminals are considered to be in a proper mind frame, and people suffering from insanity are unaware of their actions. There is a fine line between the two and determining whether or not someone is a criminal or if someone is mentally ill is very complicated. In some societies people who are mentally ill would be considered to be criminals, and people who are criminals may considered to be mentally ill. The way that the difference between criminal behavior and insanity can be told apart are through testing symptoms, past behaviour and the intent to commit crimes .Often someone who claims insanity is abnormal in a social sense and suffers from types of depression or learning disabilities of some kind. Mental illness often develops as a child or in the early adult years. The accused will undergo psychological assessments as well as undergo observations by professionals who know what to look for in someone who is mentally ill. Defintions Is the Justice System Criminalizing Mental Illness?