Editorial: Inmates deserve proper mental health treatment

Staff Editorial

When 55 percent of male inmates and 73 percent of female inmates have a mental illness in the U.S., according to The Atlantic, The News believes proper health care should be provided for those with a mental illness.

The two most common mental illnesses for inmates are depression and bipolar disorder.

Even if a crime is directly connected to a suspect or inmates’ mental illness, it is important they are treated appropriately when interacting with police officers and moving forward to get the help they need.

An argument going against these services for inmates might be that people should not have to fund mental health care for criminals, but it is a part of their amenities and rights.

Had a suspect been placed in the proper facility rather than using prisons as asylums in the first place, this would be less of an issue.

According to The News’ Monday brief from the Associated Press, part of a mental health center in Chicago will be repurposed to provide Illinois inmates with treatment for those with these illnesses.

This repurposing of the service center is a part of a settlement after a 2007 lawsuit against Ill. ordered to provide better care for mentally ill inmates.

When those with mental illnesses are incarcerated with little to no treatment or improper treatment, the chances of progression for them once they are released greatly increases.

Treatment can also improve the environment in prisons for those with mental illnesses and have life or long-term sentences.

This not only includes inmates battling with a mental illness, but also deals with inmates and drug addictions, many of which are very similar to dealing with mental health issues.

Many, but not all, who are incarcerated based on these problems have poor education and come from poverty, and without the right resources, they will not be able to permanently step back into freedom even if they are released.

Those who are released and are dealing with an illness or addiction often end up back in jail or prison shortly after their sentence because they did not have the resources to get their lives back on track.

Although providing the proper resources to inmates with addiction and mental illnesses may be costly for prisons, the chances of those same inmates returning because of the same crimes would lessen with proper treatment.