There are one tenth the number of psychiatric beds today as there were 50 years ago, while the population of the United States has nearly doubled. A combination of socio-cultural and political forces led to deinstitutionalization, creating an exodus of individuals with mental illness from state hospitals into society. Although the number of incarcerated individuals quadrupled between 1980 and 2000, there were no national statistics on the prevalence of mental illness within correctional systems until 1999. Despite great speculation for the criminalization hypothesis, backed up by fragmented research with less than ideal methodology, evidence suggests a relationship between deinstitutionalization and an increased prevalence of individuals with mental illness in correctional systems. This relationship appears most conclusive among homeless individuals with mental illness. Research lags in quantifying the influence of various factors on criminalizing individuals who, in earlier times, would otherwise have received psychiatric treatment in a hospital. Regardless of the political factors and social climate influencing the criminalization hypothesis, it appears jails and prisons have become the most enduring asylums.
|School:||Argosy University/Twin Cities|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||MAI 47/02M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mental health, Clinical psychology, Criminology|
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