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Mental disease includes a number of psychiatric conditions, resulting in a clinically demonstrated deficiency of the ability of a person to control memory, conduct, and emotions because of underlying mental dysfunctions (American Psychiatric Association, 2015). Mental disorder is of significant concern in Canada in correctional facilities. In 2015, 49%, 44% and 29% of the psychiatric conditions were due to alcohol or opioid abusses, antisocial personality disorder and anxiety disorders (Statistica; The Statistics Portal, 2015).
In the correctional installations, the Canadian authorities have launched strategies to protect people with mental health. The identification and diagnosis of mental disorders has been enhanced by a routine screening program during intake. As a result, inmates with high risks of injurious behaviors such as suicide are diagnosed early and appropriate intervention instituted (Sapers, 2013). The Computerized Mental Health Intake Screening System is a system designed to identify offenders who may need mental health services and has been employed with significance success in Canadian Correctional Facilities (Stewart & Wilton, 2012).
Several governmental legislations and policies have been formulated to protect the welfare of inmates with mental illnesses such as the Corrections and Release Act, the Canadian Health Act, as well as territorial laws e.g. Ontario Health Protection Act (Fiona, Andree, & Flora, 2016). The isolation of inmates with mental disorders may be carried out when offenders face possible danger such as being assaulted if they remain in the general prison population. Administrative segregation strategy could be voluntary or involuntary (Motiuk & Branchete, 2013).
Training of officers manning mental illness prisoners has been carried out to enhance their skills in handling mentally unstable subjects within their jurisdiction. This includes the equipping them with knowledge on how to identify prisoners with high risk factors for developing mental disorders.
In conclusion, mentally ill populations within correctional facilities form part of the vulnerable individuals within correctional facilities and strategies to protect from harm are a necessity.
American Psychiatric Association. (2015). "Use of the Manual". Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association. doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.UseofDSM5
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders | DSM Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dsm.psychiatryonline.org/doi/book/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596
Fiona, K., Andree, S., & Flora, M. (2016). Health status of prisoners in Canada. Canadian Family Physician, 215-222.
Motiuk, L., & Branchete, K. (2013). Characteristics of administratively segregated offenders in federal corrections. Canadian Journal of Criminology.
Sapers, H. (2013). Annual report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator, 2012–2013. Otawa: The Correctional Investigator Canada. Retrieved from www.ocibec.gc.ca/cnt/rpt/pdf/annrpt/annrpt20122013-eng.pdf.
Statistica; The Statistics Portal. (2015). Statistica. Retrieved from The Statistics Portal: https://www.statista.com/statistics/562884/estimated-distribution-of-mental-health-issues-of-male-inmates-canada/
Stewart, L., & Wilton, G. (2012). Validation of the Computerised Mental Health Intake Screening System (CoMHISS) in a Federal Male Offender Population.
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