The Criminalization of Mental Illness

The Criminalization of Mental Illness

Crisis and Opportunity for the Justice System

Book - 2013
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Carolina Academic Pr
For a myriad of reasons the criminal justice system has become the de facto mental health system. This book explores how and why this is the case. Sensationalized cases often drive criminal justice policies that can sometimes be impulsively enacted and misguided. While there are chapters that examine competency, insanity, and inpatient and outpatient commitment, the primary focus of the book is on the bulk of encounters that clog the criminal justice system with persons with mental illnesses (pwmi). Criminal justice practitioners are often ill-equipped for dealing with pwmi in crises. However, via application of therapeutic jurisprudence principles some agencies are better preparing their employees for such encounters and attempting to stop the inhumane and costly recycling of pwmi through the criminal justice system. Coverage runs the gamut from deinstitutionalization, to specialized law enforcement responses, to mental health courts, to jails and prisons, to discharge planning, diversion, and reentry. Also, criminal justice practitioners in their own words provide insight into and examples of the interface between the mental health and criminal justice systems. Throughout the book the balance between maintaining public safety and preserving civil liberties is examined as the state's police power and parens patriae roles are considered. Reasoned, collaborative approaches for influencing and informing policies that are often driven by crises are discussed; this book also reflects more psychological underpinnings than the first edition, as one of the co-authors new to this edition is a forensic clinical psychologist.

Book News
The rate of mental illness in the criminal justice system is much higher than in the general population, and Slate (criminology, Florida Southern College), Buffington-Vollum (clinical psychologist), and Johnson (juvenile corrections and substance abuse treatment) suggest that the justice system serves as a de facto mental health system, with an inherently dysfunctional conflict between the priorities of therapy and punishment. This thick book discusses the history of conceptualizations of mental illness, challenges of dealing with mental illness within the justice system, civil and outpatient commitment, law enforcement response to mental health crises, and the treatment of offenders with mental illness from jail to courts to prison to discharge. Chapters are written with both discussion and recommendations. The book is written for a broad audience, with the intent to inform law enforcement agencies, mental health professionals, policymakers, and students who may later join one of these groups. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Durham, North Carolina :, Carolina Academic Press,, [2013]
Edition: Second edition
Copyright Date: © 2013
ISBN: 9781611630398
Characteristics: xix, 550 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm


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