View Full Version : Mental Illness & Crime

doc's honeee
06-12-2008, 06:39 AM
This is an excellent article on the state of care for the mentally ill and the tragic connection to crime. Upwards of 30% of the incarcerated in Tx are or were under the care of the mental health system and I'm sure there are as many who are undiagnosed. Money would be better spent on treatment, rather than incarceration.

06-12-2008, 04:58 PM
Doc's Honee -- I can attest to mental illness & crime going hand n hand. My son has been treated for Bi-Polar for many years but all along he was also participating in crime.

I too also believe that there are ALOT of prisoners that are not diagnosed. Running the gamet of Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar, etc. I also believe this pertains to our homeless as well.

Getting treatment for everyone though is hard especially when the person has existed & learned coping skills or their in denial. Then you have the MHMR facilities -- Getting into these takes an act of God & also what seems like a lifetime. The staff at the facilities are mediocre at best. Getting people to take their meds especially when after a person has been taking them for awhile, gets to feeling better & then decides they don't need them any longer. Then of course the side effects of the meds -- these are sometimes painful and/or debilitating.

06-14-2008, 10:03 AM
People rail against the cost of mental health facilities, but this article clearly states the cost of not having mental facilities is much greater because of the court costs, incarceration costs and lawsuits. Interesting.

06-15-2008, 06:29 AM
Then of course the side effects of the meds -- these are sometimes painful and/or debilitating.

My son has been diagnosed with a mental disorder. He refuses all meds for this because as a child he was on a medication, and when he was taken off of it cold turkey - the withdrawal was horrible. That was 30 years ago, and he still remembers it.

In prison - they do not "treat" the illness however. He had a doctor at Solano tell him "It is not our job to treat you - it is our job to medicate you into submission until you are released".

One inmate my son knew died from a "reaction" to the drugs. At the time he was on 10 different meds for psych problems.

My son has a clinician who tells guys in group therapy that they are there "because of the way your drug addicted, alcoholic, abusive parents treated you as a child".

With this kind of "help" - is it any wonder these mentally ill inmates are worse when they are released than when they went in?

06-23-2008, 03:43 PM
I unfortunately do not know 100% as of yet what TDC will do once my husband gets in their "care" (or lack there of).... He will be there shortly. I'll be the first beating down someone's door if they deny him his meds or give him something completely different!

He unfortunately was living proof that mental illness (and even substance abuse) can definitely contribute to criminal behavior. He just got diagnosed about 9 months ago with a mental illness (one that I've read can easily go undiagnosed or treated because of the very nature of the illness); but it took us going on our own to a psychologist after years of turmoil!

My husband was a previous guest of TDC in 2001 for several years (3rd DWI), and was not diagnosed with any mental illness. Gee, I wonder if it's because they dont want to be the one's to find it, so they can just pour more money and responsibility into an offender. I can guarantee that TDC doesnt want to spend the time, money, or responsiblity for a problem or illness unless they have to. If he had been properly diagnosed and treated in the first place (they didnt even treat him AT ALL for his alcoholism last time) -- he wouldnt have sadly and unfortunately returned to TDC and torn our family apart!

*Ya got me on my soap box* ;)

06-23-2008, 09:57 PM
Mental illness it's a subject on it's . People commit crimes and it shouldn't be blamed on because they have a mental illness . Yes it's hard to deal with and there is medication out there to treat them , but don't look at TDC and expect them to fix the problem because the person went in to prison with a mental illness . It wasn't created by TDC . Yes they do need care and the unit I worked on , trust me , proper meds were given to inmates . It's a person choice to drink , drug or not to take their meds . Also sometimes inmates choose to SELL their meds and then claim they never received them . I may stepped on some toes , but oh well , I worked for the system for some years and now work in the mental health field for some time . So it's not like I just read that stuff somewhere . But I feel for people who deal with schizophrenia .

doc's honeee
06-24-2008, 05:16 AM
red - I don't think anyone is using mental illness here as an excuse for committing crime. The issue is that so many people in prison are diagnosed with mental disorders, there must be a correlation and if so, what do we do to stop the cycle. I do have to make the point that alcoholism is a disease. It is recognized by the AMA. No one wakes up one day and says "I want to waste the rest of my life drinking." There has been a great deal of research and addictions of any kind are most definitely brain disorders. What is needed is a mental health system that both recognizes and provides treatment for the individuals whose crimes are a treatable disease. My situation is similar to strawberry, Larry is an alcoholic and has other diagnosed conditions, he has DUI's, and although we tried to get treatment before the situation ended in tdcj, it was almost impossible. He is well aware that he broke the law, but previous stints did not provide any rehab, except to dry him out. We are working very hard, ourselves, to make sure he can get what he needs to stay sober, but there aren't many services provided. On a final note, tdcj does not do a good job of monitoring the physical or mental condition of offenders. utmb is actually guilty of malpractice to a staggering degree. I know from Larry's experience that meds were problematic from the pill window to the PA's. I can't count the number of issues he had. He finally voluntarily stopped taking what they gave him, as it made him feel worse. He doing fine, but that is not the case with everyone.
One last example, Larry had a cell mate for several months, who was diagnosed schizophrenic. They had him so heavily medicated(presumably for control) he slept 23 hours a day! A couple of times when he was awake, he collapsed. Aside from the obvious insanity of the system here, it was unnerving for Larry, he was never sure what to expect and his cell mate was definitely unpredictable.
On a logistical note: how much overcrowding/staff shortages could be alleviated in tdcj by treating eligible offenders in rehab/outpatient programs?
Peace Marianne

06-24-2008, 06:51 PM
In my opinion mental illness & crime do go hand in hand. If you take a person who has Conduct Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder this person will have a tendency to defy rules & authority & may therefore (not everyone) commit a crime. You have a person who is schizophrenic & freaks out & bust out a policeman's window I would think this is mental illness / crime together -- At least from the Policeman's point of view.
Alot of times you have people who were diagnosed w/ a mental illness & are taking medication then the prison sysstem does not adhere to their illness or medications. No one is asking the prison system to "fix" their illness only to respect the fact that there have been other professionals state this person has an illness & we need to keep this person on the SAME medication they've been on. These professional I would think are more qualified than the prison system.
Since I've been dealing w/ mental illness in my family I've have seen so many children & adults who do have criminal behavior some as a result of their mental illness. You cannot tell me they do not go together at times. I've lived w/this stuff in my family for toooo many years & until you've lived it you have no clue.

06-24-2008, 10:10 PM
Mental Illness and crime may go hand in hand but I feel sorry for the victims or whoever got hurt in the long run .

06-24-2008, 10:21 PM
Mental Illness and crime may go hand in hand but I feel sorry for the victims or whoever got hurt in the long run .

So do I. That's another really good reason for us (meaning as a society) to come up with ways to help the portion of the mentally ill population that is likely to or has committed a crime to function properly so that they don't end up hurting someone and back in prison or jail. It's easy to say "mental illness is not an excuse" but that doesn't keep me safe from crime or the mentally ill person safe from ending up in prison. I would like to see my tax dollars go to giving specialized treatment to the mentally ill portion of prison inmates (or at-risk mentally ill in the free world). Yes, I know some people cannot be helped, but there are plenty who could be.

06-25-2008, 09:40 AM
In my case, my husband went so many years undiagnosed...and committing crime! He went years without getting arrested, and then after we got married...bam, yet again! The fact is, in our case -- that once my husband got properly diagnosed 9 months ago (AFTER he left the prison system the 1st time)...and got on medication and therapy; he got and stayed sober and stopped getting into trouble! It was too late unfortunately because he got diagnosed AFTER 1 trip to prison, and the last 2 felony offenses from 1 year ago that sent him to this current trip to prison.

06-25-2008, 04:58 PM
I have to agree with "both" sides of this- -see inmates sell their pills to other inmates that want to "check out" and then I see inmates "stock pile" their meds so they can get high one night- -then I see inmates that NEED to be on meds- -with conseling- -and get nothing.
True, it's a sad situation, very sad, but also very scary- -one really doesn't know what that inmate is going to do- -chill out or attack you, never know.
I feel for the victims- -but seriously, I can't see if one can't "think straight" to begin with, how can they be held for a crime- -basically, they have no brain- -per society wise, don't take that personal, OK?
And again, there are some that are so darn smart- -they are insane, fine line between the two.
Change the system, vote.
Be safe.