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Of all of the special category offenders you have read about, which do you think provides the greatest challenge in a correctional facility and why?

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You are to respond to two (2) classmates initial responses

Response posts are to be 250-350 words in length, no more and no less

All initial responses are to be in APA format and include a minimum of two (2) peer reviewed APA Sources.


Q1

All special category offenders that I have read about contribute to the difficulties in the operational aspects of a correctional facility. They all have their own special problems which make it hard for the workers to deal with as well as their fellow inmates. A correctional facility isn’t a place that showcases perfection in terms of inmate behavior and overall facility function which is normal but these special category offenders are the people who add a little spice to the imperfections of these facilities. I personally think that the special category offender that contributes the most to The chaotic environment of the correctional facility are those of the mentally ill kind. I believe that these individuals must be dealt with in a special way because of their special characteristics and when I say dealt with I mean the people who supervise the inmates, as well as the inmates themselves, are faced with these special people.

Obviously, the general category of mentally ill is a very broad category and I believe that those that are mentally ill but are still able to successfully communicate with other inmates and workers aren’t as much of an issue as those with more complex mental disabilities such as retardation or autism. Those with autism are still able to communicate with other people in the facility but at times can have problems adapting to their surroundings which can cause a great deal of stress on the inmates and the workers. More specifically though I am referring to those with down syndrome. Inmates with down syndrome considering that it is a very high-level Of down syndrome where they are unable to communicate nor adapt at all to their surroundings can cause a very complicated and challenging problem to everybody involved in the operations of a correctional facility. People with down syndrome typically do not understand what is going on around them from a technical point of view and this is where the problems are.

I doubt that there are people with down syndrome that have been sentenced to prison because of the challenges that they would face but in facilities such as jails or correctional mental institutions, I believe this is where the bulk of the issues are. Your typical person with down syndrome can experience Delay development, learning disabilities, speech impairments, and overall difficulty in thinking and understanding, and an abundance of health issues. Considering that most inmates can develop numerous health issues, it’s the mental disabilities that present the biggest challenges in these facilities. The learning disability can affect the way they are able to learn what they are doing in this facility and why they’re in this facility, to begin, the speech delay can prevent them from successfully interacting with other inmates and fractional workers that maybe for their own direction and relationship development and finally the difficulties that they face with thinking and understanding can deeply create many obstacles for everybody involved.

These are just some of many examples that I believe contribute to the idea of somebody with a mental disability under the general category of retardation can provide the greatest challenges in a correctional facility. This belief is exclusively supported by the lack of communication and interaction skills that these people would face in a facility like this.

References (peer-reviewed)

Versaci, T. M., Mattie, L. J., & Imming, L. J. (2021). Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder Dual Diagnosis: Important Considerations for Speech-Language Pathologists. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 30(1), 34–46. https://doi-org.proxymu.wrlc.org/10.1044/2020_AJSL…

Gandy, K. C., Castillo, H. A., Ouellette, L., Castillo, J., Lupo, P. J., Jacola, L. M., Rabin, K. R., Raghubar, K. P., & Gramatges, M. M. (2020). The relationship between chronic health conditions and cognitive deficits in children, adolescents, and young adults with down syndrome: A systematic review. PLoS ONE, 15(9), 1–13. https://doi-org.proxymu.wrlc.org/10.1371/journal.p…

Q2

Mentally Ill Inmates in Correctional Facilities

Correctional facilities have many special category offenders that I have read about and all of them provide challenges daily. With the amount of inmates in a correctional facility, corrections officer’s need to be prepared for any situation that may arise with an inmate. Although these inmates are locked up for something they did wrong, they should still be provided the necessities and help needed to survive everyday life. This is why I believe that the group that creates the greatest challenge in a correctional facility is the mentally ill inmates.

In correctional facilities, almost all inmates pose a threat towards staff and other inmates. However, when adding in a mental illness it can make things a lot harder for everyone. For instance, Mire et al. (2007) found in their research that “of these 11 million offenders, approximately 800,000 suffer from serious mental illness and 72 percent of these suffer from co-occurring substance use disorders”(p. 20-21). This goes to show that a lot of inmates are coming into prisons with problems that people may not be aware of or that they need help with to cope with their problems. One of the many concerns of mentally ill inmates is if staff at these facilities truly know how to handle these types of situations and can de escalate them. According to DeHart & Iachini (2019), they found that “in at least one state, the department of mental health released a report of concerns, specifically that correctional staff may not be equipped to handle behaviors symptomatic of mental illness and that inadequate community resources contributed to incarcerated persons ‘cycling’ in and out of jails (SCDMH, 2006)” (p.459). If staff handling these inmates daily do not have the skills to help these inmates and know when they are having an episode rather than lashing out because they can then that puts everyone at risk. Mentally ill inmates need the proper tools such as therapy and medications to handle their illness and if they do not receive the help because staff do not realize these inmates need help then things need to drastically change.

Studies have shown that inmates that have mental illness may be worse in a confined place rather than in a proper facility. For example, Mire et al. (2007) illustrates that “in fact, there is a wide body of literature that demonstrates that jail and prison environments can make matters substantially worse for the mentally ill (Bartol & Bartol, 2005; Cordess, Davidson, Morris, & Norton, 2005)” (p.20). With this information, facilities should be focusing on managing these mentally ill inmates and make them comfortable in their environment even though they are in prison. Mentally ill inmates face a lot of complications in their lives when it comes to their illness and being confined to tight spaces does not make it any better. DeHart & Iachini (2019) explain that “foremost, persons with serious mental illness or trauma experiences may display behaviors out of their conscious control, including symptomatic behaviors that appear disruptive, aggressive or emotional outbursts, or failure to follow directives”(p.459). If these happen other inmates or staff could be in harm’s way and that is why these groups of people are difficult to handle. Correctional facilities may have to spend more money to provide these inmates with ways of coping or addressing their mental illness. This is why mental illness in all inmates causes a huge challenge in any facility.

Overall, the mentally ill in correctional facilities are one of the greatest challenges that a facility can face as you have to learn all of your inmates and how they function to catch an outburst and to get them help. Even if these inmates are struggling, staff should be taught how to handle situations and to know signs of a mental illness. In conclusion, mentally ill people inside of prison are hard to manage, control, and diagnose with the resources the government provides.

References

DeHart, D., & Iachini, A. L. (2019). Mental Health & Trauma among Incarcerated Persons: Development of a Training Curriculum for Correctional Officers. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 44(3), 457–473. https://doi-org.proxymu.wrlc.org/10.1007/s12103-01…

Mire, S., Forsyth, C. J., & Hanser, R. (2007). Jail Diversion: Addressing the Needs of Offenders with Mental Illness and Co-Occurring Disorders. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 45(1/2), 19–31. https://doi-org.proxymu.wrlc.org/10.1300/J076v45n0…