Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Mental Ill Receive Inadequate Care in Jail

     When the mentally ill commit a crime, they are usually sentenced to jail just like anyone else. Unfortunately, they are not like everyone else, and being confined to a  6x8 foot jail cell is not the necessary treatment  In this tight space, mentally ill inmates have said in the report below that they feel like they are trapped by their own demons. To help these tortured souls, medication is distributed twice a day to stabilize their moods. While this might be the same medication  prescribed at a psychiatric hospital, the inmates' living conditions are not conducive to their individual betterment.

In Akron, Ohio, in the 1970s, police would refer mentally ill patients to the state mental hospital, Falls View. However, Falls View no longer exists. That means Akron’s county jail has become a cesspool for the mentally ill. The jail is equipped with more mental health facilities per person than other cities, but that does not equate to adequate care. Dr. James Orlando, a psychologist at Akron,  believes incarceration can aggravate mental illness with the less than therapeutic atmosphere. In recent years, the number of psychiatric beds has decreased by 90 percent. The lack of facilities in jails contributes to the suffering of mentally ill inmates. 

--Shannon Egan

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