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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78495 Find in a Library
Title: Mental Health Services and the Inmate - Problems and Considerations (From Prisoners' Rights Sourcebook, P 295-316, 1980, Ira P Robbins, ed. - See NCJ-78483)
Author(s): M J Churgin
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Clark Boardman Company, Ltd
New York, NY 10014
Sale Source: Clark Boardman Company, Ltd
435 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter from a sourcebook on prisoners' rights focuses on legal and operational issues involved in the provision of mental health services and inmate transfer to mental health facilities.
Abstract: Problems of mental retardation and mental illness are prevalent among prison populations. One research study concluded that approximately 10 percent of the inmate population is mentally retarded. The marked increase in prison populations has aggravated the situation. In addition, distresses and violence that characterize prison life contribute to mental difficulties. A minimum constitutional standard for prison medical care has evolved largely in the past decade. In 1976, the Supreme Court ruling in Estelle v. Gamble articulated the consensus standard for correctional institutions. Nevertheless, general health care in prisons is often inadequate, and mental health services are usually one step below the standard health care. Inadequate facilities and staffing are the major causal factors. The staff/inmate ratios for various treatment professionals in State adult institutions is 1:521 for psychologists and 1:676 for psychiatrists. Part-time professionals tend to rely on the permanent staff person who has major supervisory authority in the mental health area. In addition, communication is a problem, especially since few minority mental health professionals are employed in the Nation's corrections facilities. The transfer of inmates from correctional to mental health facilities has caused the most litigation. In the 1966 case of Baxtrom v. Herold, the Supreme Court ruled that the transfer which was effected while the inmate was serving his sentence was in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. Nevertheless, questions remain about due process rights attendant upon transfer. A table showing statutory provisions for prison to mental health facility transfers and 93 reference notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Cruel and unusual punishment; Medical and dental services; Mentally ill offenders; Offenders with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities; Prisoner's rights; Psychiatric services; Right to Due Process; Right to treatment
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