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Ethical Issues Related to Mental Health Disorders in The Criminal Justice System
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Sentencing criminal offenders suffering from a mental illness or disorder is challenging. People suffering from mental diseases require special care and attention. With the overpopulation and the closure of several large mental institutions, the prison system has turned out to be an asylum for offenders suffering from mental illnesses. Managing such individuals requires special skills and attention as they are prone to extreme behavior due to high susceptibility to stress and depression (Castillo et al., 2019). Applying ethics when dealing with criminal offenders suffering from mental health issues is essential. It allows for a human-based approach to problem resolution by understanding the individual’s mental situation. This essay will discuss legal and ethical issues in sentencing mentally ill criminal offenders, civil commitment and handling the offenders in the community and institutional correctional facilities.

Ethical and Legal Issues Summary

Ethical Issues Related to Sentencing Offenders with Mental Illnesses
In sentencing, a criminal offender must evaluate their mental condition, and the probability of this condition is responsible for the offense committed by the offender. By analyzing the disease-crime link, the judge in a court-of-law is expected to offer a judgment that serves to provide justice but fair enough not to cause mental anguish or deterioration of the individual’s mental health (Spizale, 2018). Crimes committed by these individuals may follow a punishment that would bear a much heavier consequence than it would on a mentally healthy person. Regarding this, correctional facilities that prioritize mental health are the best places to be sentenced if their disorders are identified to be negatively affected. The law also requires that criminal offenders identified to have a mental illness be given a more lenient judgment as an average person would. This approach allows for a more reform-based strategy in sentencing individuals.
The mental health condition of an offender can influence their perception of correction and rehabilitation. Sentencing these individuals requires knowledge and know-how on how to handle mental disorders. Ensuring that the judgment that will impact the most change to an individual’s mental health is essential. Many social issues are caused and driven by mental disorders and illnesses that hinder the person suffering from optimally handling their personal and basic needs (Spizale, 2018). Due to the nature of the conditions, these people are quite often taken advantage of in the legal system and proceedings. Their failure to properly understand, comprehend, or indecisiveness may lead to them making statements or pleas that may jeopardize their efforts to get justice.
Civil Commitment and Legal Issues
Civil commitment is a process of law where the court can order an individual with a proven severe mental illness admission to a hospital facility. The individual should be eighteen years of age or over, have a proven severe mental illness, and be expected to possibly be dangerous with the probability of posing a threat to other community members. A referral to the hospital in such a case is considered a treatment strategy and not an act of punishment. Civil commitment aims to help the individual receive professional care from mental health professionals, thus, regain their normal state of mind (Castillo et al., 2019).
The most common legal issue in dealing with mentally ill criminal offenders lies in their disability to properly comprehend the requirements and instructions along the legal process. With a flawed mental construction process, poor and very unreliable memory and a retarded cognitive ability, these offenders often prove a challenge to lawyers dealing with them as piecing together critical information for a defense case proves hard. An imperfect legal process limits the efficiency of the court presentation and quality of arguments presented, thus, have a higher probability of being given a harsh punishment (Spizale, 2018). In a court appearance, mentally ill individuals may show extreme emotions or unwarranted facial emotions subconsciously or unknowingly, a behavior that may offset the judge and lead to them misjudging the individuals as unremorseful and insensitive. However, this may be handled by the representative parties to the defendants highlighting that their client has a mental disorder. The majority of mentally ill criminal offenders lack the financial power to get good representation from effective counsel. The government-provided lawyers are usually unmotivated, overworked and often very inexperienced to represent a client effectively.

Ethical and Legal Issues Summary

Ethical Issues in Institutional and Community Correctional Settings for Mentally Ill Offenders
The prison complex forms the largest and most populated mental health institution in the United States (Castillo et al., 2019). The high numbers of incarceration experienced have worsened the treatment of inmates and prisoners in correctional facilities. Mentally ill individuals tend to receive extreme punishments by both guards and inmates in the event of disagreements. An overworked prison staff workforce makes them easily irritable and inefficient in paying close attention to changing mental health patterns in individuals. A result of this is that more mentally ill individuals are thrown into solitary confinement, thus worsening their condition and even leading to suicide in some cases. Mentally healthy individuals thrown into solitary confinement have also been noted to develop mental health issues such as extreme stress and severe depression.

References
Castillo, E. G., Ijadi-Maghsoodi, R., Shadravan, S., Moore, E., Mensah, M. O., Docherty, M., … & Wells, K. B. (2019). Community interventions to promote mental health and social equity. Current psychiatry reports, 21(5), 1-14.
Spizale, S. A. S. (2018). Mental Health and Corrections (Doctoral dissertation, Adler Graduate School).

Question
Write a 700 word summary paper of the ethical issues related to mental health disorders in the criminal justice system. Include the following:

Describe the ethical issues related to sentencing offenders with mental illnesses.
Describe civil commitment.
Describe legal issues associated with working with offenders with mental illnesses.
Describe ethical issues related to treating offenders with mental illnesses in the institutional and community correctional settings.

Include a minimum of two sources.

Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.

Ethical and Legal Issues Summary

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