skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 98087 Find in a Library
Title: And Some Grow Mad, and All Grow Bad - Prisoners' Constitutional Right to Receive Psychiatric Treatment
Journal: New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement  Volume:11  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1985)  Pages:160-185
Author(s): E M Jennings
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 26
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Following a review of the historical development of prisoners' right to psychiatric treatment, the tests used to determine the parameters of the right are examined and discussed.
Abstract: Early case law delineated the public's duty to care for its incarcerated in terms of the eighth amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In Estelle v. Gamble, the U.S. Supreme Court set the controlling principle governing the State's duty with respect to the provision of medical care. In general, a responsive decency standard is usually applied by the judiciary in the assessment of deficiencies within the penal environment and in psychiatric services. Under this standard, deprivations of liberties and services must fulfill a legitimate penal goal and must not inflict wanton and unnecessary pain nor be so extreme that they cannot be countenanced by an orderly society. Tests determinative of the standard have included considerations of deliberate indifference, pattern of deprivation/series of incidents, the totality of circumstances, and the seriousness of the need for treatment. Additional standards by which courts can address the adequacy of psychiatric services are set forth in Capps v. Atiyeh. These standards impose an affirmative duty upon penal institutions to provide adequate psychiatric care for inmates. They show a humanistic and enlightened approach to prison reform which is the mark of an evolving society. Footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Cruel and unusual punishment; History of corrections; Judicial decisions; Prisoner's rights; Psychiatric services; Right to treatment; US Supreme Court decisions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.