Research Proposal on Mental Disorders Cases in Justice Legal System

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Cases of mental illness associated with people who are in the correctional systems have become an area of concern in our current world that is filled with all sorts of social and evil crimes. The argument on the need and concern for mentally ill people that have been promoted by the opinion that most mental illness more likely gets it while they are in the correctional facilities. It is a great challenge for a mentally ill individual to cope up well with normal. People who are faced with the situation of dealing with relatives who are mentally ill can explain it well. Mental illness is mostly natural in human nature; our biological makeup is a major cause of the abnormality. The most serious area that has raised the alarm and that need to be addressed is when mental illnesses are associated with our criminal justice system. The numbers of inmates' getting mental illnesses have been adding up the day after the other our correctional systems. In the event of 1960's that saw the discharge of psychiatric people into the society with no full mental health made the situation worse and has been the sole cause of inmates with mental illness. The individuals lack common sense and their situation prompt them to involve in a law-breaking activity that will render them into jail, thus increasing the number in our correctional as compared to our hospital where they should be.

Literature review

This study will be based on the available scholarly works which have been conducted related to the issues of mental health in inmates both adults and children in the prisons and juveniles systems. This studies focused on the increased instances of mental illnesses among inmates incarcerated in the United States prisons. These studies will help in exploring the issue of mental illness in the united state's jails. According to Houser and Belenko, (2015)critical mental illness has been reported as the most prevalent problem in the United States justice systems leading to the rebranding of the jails and prisons as the "modern asylums." For instance, the Los Angeles County Jail, it has been reported to be holding more mentally ill inmates than most mental health hospitals in the United States. Generally, it is estimated that 22% of inmates in the United States and 16 %of people detained in state prisons are approximate to have critical mental disorders. this prevalence adds up to 384,00 inmates with severe mental disorder in the United States in the year 2015 which is almost ten times the number of mentally ill persons in the state's hospitals. In another study they carried out in Maryland and Michigan prisons and jails highlighted that 15 percent of the inmates had some signs and symptoms of mental illness. The number of women who had their symptoms was more than eh a number of males. The major symptoms identified were major depression, bipolar illness, impaired judgment among others. Mentally ill inmates spent more time than other inmates in the jails or prisons (Petersilia, 2014). The reason behind this is they find it challenging and hard to adhere to the prison and jail rules and regulations. Mentally ill inmates have the probability of being detained for a duration that is twice longer than that of normal inmates. They take a lot of time to understand, and they are violent. To illustrate in a study conducted in Washington state jails, and prison found that mentally ill inmates were liable for almost 45% of rule violations despite their low percentage of 15% of the whole population. The cost of detaining mentally ill inmates is absolutely high due to their unique needs which require immediate attention. There is the need for specialized facilities which suit their frequent violent needs. Also, they have more staffing needs as compared to the other inmates. Prisons incur these costs due to the psychiatric medical care provided to the mentally ill detainees and also the costs of settling legal suits arising from the treatment of mentally challenged detainees in the premises of the jail (Cowell, Hinde, Broner, & Aldridge, 2015). A study conducted by Prins, (2014) , to investigate the number of managerial problems caused by mentally challenged inmates in the United States prisons ; found that mentally challenged inmates pose a challenge to the management team as they attempt to control and manage the behaviors of the inmates in the prisons. Inmates with mental disorders make it hard for the management to oversee their behavior due to their perceptions and challenging needed. Some may not be willing eat; others don't like wearing clothes among other behaviors. Suicidal cases is another major challenge associated with mental illness in the prisons were inmates kill themselves. A study conducted in Washington highlighted that an estimate of 78percent of the inmates with mental disorders attempted to commit suicide while in the correctional facilities (DeGue, Fowler, & Calkins, 2016). The instances have been accelerated by the strict, measures of forcing all the mentally challenged persons into the legal justice systems. The society views mentally ill persons as a liability to the community and thus channeling them into the prisons. This has not been a solution because they feel troubled and isolated from their families to the extent of taking away their life. According to a study conducted by Wagner and Sakala ( 2014), in several United States jails and prisons found that screening has to be don for all admissions to detect the signs of and symptoms of mental illness at early stages for medication. He further pointed out that mental disorders increases due to the conditions the inmates are subjected to while in the prisons. Early screening and medication will help curb the issue of mental illness in the United States and enhance the mental health of the inmates.

The scope of the current study.

The study needs to determine the prevalence of individual with mental illness who are in the jail. Due to the increase in some people having mental disorders in the jail system, there is need to address the issue before our correctional centers are filled with psychiatric individuals who need to be receiving medication rather than correction of that sort. The study will investigate the following research questions: 1) will the health of the mentally ill people deteriorate when put in jail? 2) What is the effect caused by mental ill not sent to the hospital for medication? 3) Is the increased number of mental illness inmates being accommodated in the correctional facilities?


Data Collection Procedures.

The research will obtain the data by observing the behavior of the mentally ill people when they are put in the correctional centers. The data will also be obtained from a survey done in the local jails. The bureau of justice statistics has an order of surveying the inmates after every period of five years. The data will also be evaluated based on the entry record of the inmates as they joined the correctional centers. The data will be aimed at finding the number of facilities with the increased number of mentally ill inmates. The study will help identify if there is any relation between the increased mental illness and the increased inmates in the correctional facilities.

Research Design

Lack of medical attention of the mentally ill people exposes them to active participation in the evil activities that makes them be sent to correctional facilities. The research question that is under study is the prevalence rate of mental illness compared with the number of correctional facilities. The study will apply the use of questionnaires that will be sent to the local jails in the United States to get clear information from the officers in charge and also the inmates who have no mental illness. The study will also apply observation as a way of obtaining data, where it will be based on two groups of inmates: the mentally ill inmates and the mentally upright inmates. The mentally upright inmates will be used as a control experiment to compare with the behavior of mentally ill. The study makes use of the ANOVA test to compare the difference between the two groups of inmates. The study will be based on the cross-sectional design which will be conducted at only one time to compare the mentally ill inmates and the non-mentally ill inmates (Moschopoulos, 2014).

Selection of participants.

The study will make use of different types of participants who are related to the field. Therefore 20 officers will be used and 50 inmates who are mentally ill for observation purpose and 40 non-mentally inmates.

Planned Data Analysis.

The planned data analyzes will help the researcher to find the relation between increased mentally ill people and the corresponding of inmates in jails. The study will determine whether the mental illness contributes to the rising figure of criminals in the jails. The second analysis is on the behavior of mentally ill people when they are put in the jails. The analysis will help in finding a solution for the mentally ill people, to determine which facility they should be in, that best suits their condition.


In conclusion, the research is expected to produce results that will help the researcher to compare the behavior of mentally ill and non-mentally ill inmates. The researcher will determine whether the population of inmates is affected by mental ill diseases among the people. The prevalence of mentally ill inmates are alarming, and the probability is that it is contributed by the mental illness in the society.


Cowell, A. J., Hinde, J. M., Broner, N., & Aldridge, A. P. (2015). The cost of implementing a jail diversion program for people with mental illness in San Antonio, Texas. Evaluation and Program Planning, 48, 57–62. DeGue, S., Fowler, K. A., & Calkins, C. (2016). Deaths Due to Use of Lethal Force by Law Enforcement: Findings From the National Violent Death Reporting System, 17 US States, 2009–2012. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 51(5), S173–S187. Houser, K., & Belenko, S. (2015). Disciplinary responses to misconduct among female prison inmates with mental illness, substance use disorders, and co-occurring disorders. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 38(1), 24. Moschopoulos, P. G. (2014). Testing in Two-Way ANOVA with Random Cell Sizes. Petersilia, J. (2014). California prison downsizing and its impact on local criminal justice systems. Prins, S. J. (2014). Prevalence of mental illnesses in US state prisons: a systematic review. Psychiatric Services, 65(7), 862–872. Wagner, P., & Sakala, L. (2014). Mass incarceration: the whole pie. Northampton, MA: Prison Policy Initiative.

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Research Proposal on Mental Disorders Cases in Justice Legal System. (2018, Dec 17). Retrieved September 26, 2023 , from

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