Mentally Ill People: Prison or Hospitilization ?
As I watched the video, I learned a lot about mentally ill residents and how more and more of them are now staying in prisons instead of mental hospitals or institutions where they belong. I learned about a few of the prisoners that stay in these prisons and how they feel about staying there. Jacobe Lewis, was a psychopath, who believed “after years and years of treatment that staying at prison helped him and that his hallucinations stopped after a while.” Whereas, Carl McEachrone says “that they shouldn’t be in prison and how communication and treatment alone does not work.” In my opinion, Jacobe Lewis and Carl McEachrone opinions are both right. I feel that they are both right because I feel that depending on the individual someone can be helped by staying behind bars and receiving counseling and interacting with others with mental illnesses. On the other hand I also feel that Carl McEachrone is right because I believe that the technique that they are trying with these individuals doesn’t necessarily work for everybody and that it could backfire and make the situation worse. Likewise, the question stand should be in prison and if so why should they be in prison.
After thoroughly watching the video and listening to the prisoners and the staff’s point of view on why the mentally ill residents are there I feel that overall that mentally ill people should not be in prison. I feel this way because I feel that non mentally ill people automatically feel threatened by these individuals and feel that them being in prison is okay, as long as they aren’t harmed. I feel that the majority of the population look at mentally ill people as if they are crazy, volatile, and could misbehave or harm someone at any point of time. In the video, Wilkinson says “how jailing these individuals instead of sending them to hospitals was wrong and that we were no longer treating them like human beings.” I feel that the majority of peoples of opinions of mentally ill people come from books such as Mice and Men or movies as I Am Sam. In the book Mice and Men, Lenny was portrayed as a mentally challenged individual who was too dumb enough to take care of himself, eventually killing someone, and as a result shot by his own friend. On the other hand, Sean Penn was portrayed as a helpless sometimes moody but caring mentally challenged person who only wanted to take care of his daughter despite his mental capacity. I feel that the environment plays a huge role in how we judge mentally challenged people. Also, I feel that not everyone judges mentally ill people in the same way. I feel that some people judge mentally ill people not on the actions or the crimes they commit but on how they speak and their overall personality. I don’t necessarily think that everyone thinks mentally ill people are violate I just think that a majority of citizens do. I think this way because there are now 500,000 mentally ill people in prisons instead of in mental hospitals, far more than the 50,000 that were in there around thirty years ago. I feel that this statistic shows that we are slowly starting to no longer care about these individuals, treating them as if they were less than human, no longer caring whether they lived or died, or received the necessary treatment in order for them to get better. I wish the views of society would change so that these people are not behind bars and would get the chance to feel as if they have a little more freedom.
In addition to, I feel that they type of crime should matter on whether or not they are hospitalized or imprisoned. I feel this way because I think that individuals who commit a small crime may or may not commit a bigger crime. I feel that each of these individuals should be given the benefit of the doubt and shouldn’t be automatically assumed as being aggressive and prone to commit a bigger crime because of their mental incapability’s. I think that the majority of these individuals should be hospitalized. The only way I should feel if someone should be imprisoned is if they killed someone or greatly injures someone or injuring themselves greatly. I feel that these individuals need guidance, therapy, activities, and a little bit more freedom instead of automatically going to jail because of a small crime that they have committed. According to Bridget Benetis, she feels that keeping these individuals locked away isn’t going to help them. I agree with her and feel that putting these individuals in jail is wrong. The only thing I like about the prison is how the staff talks to the prisoners on how they feel about staying there. The response from one prisoner was that he felt that was suffering and that he was locked away. I feel that his statement along with a couple of others goes to show that these people want a little bit more freedom and would not like to be treated as if they were animals unable to do anything for themselves, even anything small that they could possibly handle.
Similarly, after watching the end of the video, my opinion on how these mentally ill prisoners are being treated is that they are being treated unfair. I noticed that if an individual doesn’t comply with what the staff is saying that brutal force is used by 5 or 6 officers and that these individuals are later being forced to take meds. I think forcing these individuals to do something they don’t want to do in a way go against our citizen rights. For example, in a hospital, if an individual doesn’t want chemo therapy for the cancer that they have, then they aren’t forced to be given chemo therapy, they are just strongly advised to receive the chemo in order to help the cancer go away. So, I feel that when we force these prisoners to take these medications that it is wrong and that they should have a say so in whether or not if they want to take them. I think that the medications aren’t going to work 100 percent in every individual in might help decrease minor systems but it isn’t necessarily going to lead these prisoners to being 100 percent well again. These individuals are going to have to constantly receive treatment their whole lives even though the side effects of taking these medications might cause their behavior to become worse than what it was before. The staff overall goal is to control the prisoners eating, give them rehab, and to help stabilize each individual. Their goal is a good goal to maintain but the way they go about maintaining this goal is wrong
In conclusion, I feel that mentally ill people shouldn’t be in prisons. I feel that mentally ill people should be in hospitals receiving therapy, counseling, voluntary treatment, and freedom to eat and involve themselves in activities as they please. The type of crime does matter if they should go to jail or a hospital depending on if they have greatly injured someone, killed someone, or injured themselves. The treatment that these individuals receive from the prison is wrong and should be changed immediately.