Needs of Special Offenders

1 January 2017

The Needs of Special offenders Inmates with special needs, the mentally ill, and the substance abusing inmates all make up a large number of the prison population. These inmates affect the prison systems in different ways. Providing programs for the mentally ill inmates is extremely difficult for correctional staff. A very high percentage of inmates in the prison system have a mental illness.

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The demands for security for these inmates can be very challenging to program efforts. Correctional agencies are not equipped to provide mental health programs to the inmates to the same extent as mental health agencies. Mental health programs are critical to the accomplishment of the correctional facility. Correctional facilities provide multileveled and integrative programs to the mentally ill inmates. Without treatment the mentally ill inmates will be unable to prepare for release and they will not be able to reenter the community.

The correctional mental health program must be effective in transitioning the inmate back to the community. Prior to release, the prison and post release staff ensure that the inmate will receive the proper treatment from the community mental health programs. Substance abuse programs is a must have in a correctional environment because a high number of inmates have a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Fifty-three percent of state inmates and 45. 5 percent of federal prison inmates were classified as having an alcohol or drug abuse dependency. Substance abuse treatment in prisons is critically important, as the Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that treatment while in prison and during postincarceration supervision can reduce recidivism by roughly 50 percent. Historically however, the treatment needs of drug abusing inmates has gone unmet while they are in prison. In a 1991 study by the U. S. General Accounting Office, it was estimated that fewer than 20 percent of identified substance abusers were enrolled in a prison substance abuse program. In a 1998 report, only 24 percent of state inmates were estimated to receive treatment over the course of a year. 5 The percentage of inmates receiving treatment has improved over the past decade. ”(Corrections: An Introduction, Third Edition, CH 13. Pg 444) Residential treatment for substance abuse is the most effective type of treatment because it is the most intensive and the inmates live in a unit that is completely focused on substance abuse treatment. Residential treatment is the most expensive but, only 3. 3 percent of the inmates treated in a residential environment, were rearrested within the first six months of release.

If the special needs of the mentally ill inmates do not get met and do not get cared for properly, the inmates will not get the proper care they need. The mentally ill inmates will be released back to the streets in the same condition they were in upon entry. If the needs of these inmates do not get addressed, it will defeat the entire purpose behind the mission of corrections, rehabilitation. The mentally ill inmates and the inmates with special needs will cause disruption amongst the prison, this will cause disturbances between the inmates and the security staff.

This will cause injuries to the staff and inmates. The inmates that have substance abusive problems will seek the means in acquiring drugs and alcohol from the other inmates and security staff, in order to satisfy their addiction. Inside the correctional facilities is a mental health treatment program. The mental healt treatment programs play a critical role in rehabilitation of the offender, the better the treatment, the less likely the offender will be likely to commit the crime again.

Mental health programs have a continuum of care in order to provide various levels of care based on the needs of every inmate treated. The most intensive level is the inpatient hospital inside of the facility. The inpatient treatment is for the inmate with needs for aggressive treatment. The facility has short term crisis units that stabilize symptoms and send inmate back to general population when treated. The third unit is a residential unit that treats the inmate in a general population setting so the inmates still interact with other inmates.

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