Treatment of Mentally Ill Prisoners

In: Social Issues

Submitted By amandafusell
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Assignment 2: Treatment of Mentally Ill Prisoners

1.0 The Treatment of Mentally Ill Prisoners
The treatment of mentally ill inmates has been not only a public concern, but has also been identified by Canada’s Correctional Investigator, Howard Sapers as an issue of concern in his 2014 report to parliament. Between 1997 and 2007, offenders entering the prison system with a mental disorder grew 71% in men and 61% in women (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2012). The problem at hand is that correctional institutes and their staff are not widely trained to deal with inmates who suffer from mental disorders. The result then, is that use-of-force interventions, and placement in solitary confinement, often for extended periods of time, are used as methods of dealing with unruly behaviours exhibited by these mentally ill offenders. While there are various issues surrounding mental health in the Canadian judicial system, for the purpose of this report, the discussion will be focused around inadequate methods for dealing with behaviours presented by these inmates, namely by use-of-force and solitary confinement

1.1 Use-Of-Force Techniques In Sapers 2014 report, it is reported that “28% of all use of force interventions involved an offender with a mental health concern as identified by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)” (Ministry of Public Safety, 2014). This is likely due to the fact that mentally ill inmates are more likely to self-harm, have unpredictable behaviour, and have more trouble complying with rules. Further to this, “The use of pepper spray in nearly 60.4% of all use of force incidents reviewed suggests an increasing reliance on security-driven responses to behaviours that are often associated with mental illness” (Ministry of Public Safety, 2014).

1.2 Solitary Confinement Earlier this year, in January, a class action lawsuit was filed…...

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