Presentation Title

America's New Asylums: How Deinstitutionalization Has Created an Influx of Seriously Mentally Ill Inmates in the DOC

Presenter Information

Karyn KovalickFollow

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

mental health, prisons, deinstitutionalization

Biography

I'm currently a senior double majoring in political science and criminal justice. I hope to attend law school to pursue a career in civil rights upon graduation.

Major

Political Science

Advisor for this project

Dr. Jamie Warner

Start Date

19-4-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

19-4-2018 3:15 PM

Abstract

Since deinstitutionalization occurred in the 1960’s, the United States’ overcrowded yet underfunded correctional system is now plagued with some of the nation’s most severely mentally ill citizens, whom often committed crimes as a symptom of their illness. Inmates with serious mental illnesses are at heightened chances of falling victim to physical and sexual abuse and have a greater chance of serving lengthened terms in solitary confinement, where symptoms are often exacerbated. With the massive closure of state funded hospitals in the 1960’s, many mentally ill citizens have found themselves living within the criminal justice system while receiving only minimal care. I will seek to establish a better scholarly understanding of the cruel treatment and conditions many of these inmates suffer from. First, I suggest that the IMD Medicaid Exclusion Policy allows for blatant discrimination on the basis of mental health, which has nevertheless fostered the process of criminalizing mental illness. Moreover, in a two-pronged comparison of aftercare programs, I will also claim that directly and abruptly reintegrating mentally ill inmates back into general population from solitary confinement mimics the sudden and unplanned reintegration process for those released in the community, often times leading to immediate recidivism.

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Apr 19th, 2:00 PM Apr 19th, 3:15 PM

America's New Asylums: How Deinstitutionalization Has Created an Influx of Seriously Mentally Ill Inmates in the DOC

Since deinstitutionalization occurred in the 1960’s, the United States’ overcrowded yet underfunded correctional system is now plagued with some of the nation’s most severely mentally ill citizens, whom often committed crimes as a symptom of their illness. Inmates with serious mental illnesses are at heightened chances of falling victim to physical and sexual abuse and have a greater chance of serving lengthened terms in solitary confinement, where symptoms are often exacerbated. With the massive closure of state funded hospitals in the 1960’s, many mentally ill citizens have found themselves living within the criminal justice system while receiving only minimal care. I will seek to establish a better scholarly understanding of the cruel treatment and conditions many of these inmates suffer from. First, I suggest that the IMD Medicaid Exclusion Policy allows for blatant discrimination on the basis of mental health, which has nevertheless fostered the process of criminalizing mental illness. Moreover, in a two-pronged comparison of aftercare programs, I will also claim that directly and abruptly reintegrating mentally ill inmates back into general population from solitary confinement mimics the sudden and unplanned reintegration process for those released in the community, often times leading to immediate recidivism.