Is mandating health care constitutional
A prison expert recentlydescribed one prison unit as "medieval…cramped, unventilated, unsanitary…it will make some men mad and mad men madder." Suicidal prisoners are left naked and unattended for days on end in barren, cold observation cells.
Our research reveals significant advances in mental health care services in some prison systems.
They are neglected, accused of malingering, treated as disciplinary problems.
Without the necessary care, mentally ill prisoners suffer painful symptoms and their conditions can deteriorate.
Yet across the nation, many prison mental health services are woefully deficient, crippled by understaffing, insufficient facilities, and limited programs.
All too often seriously ill prisoners receive little or no meaningful treatment.
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In the United States, there are three times more mentally ill people in prisons than in mental health hospitals, and prisoners have rates of mental illness that are two to four times greater than the rates of members of the general public.