This paper develops the introduction and review of literature for the proposal of a research study. It develops a strong background on the relationship between schizophrenia and the high risk of being incarcerated. It examines the reason that makes a large number of schizophrenic people remain in jails while others with the same characteristics remain free. The paper uses a review of the literature to provide empirical evidence to the existence of the study problem and justify the need for the proposed study.
We will write a custom Research Paper on People With Schizophrenia Diagnosis in Prisons specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Although schizophrenia affects less than 1% of the total population in the US, it is worth noting that more than 18% of the inmates in federal and state prisons are people diagnosed with the condition (Keers, Ullrich, DeStavola, & Coid, 2013). The treatment and management of the condition are expensive and difficult due to the non-adherence to the exposure to the medication. As a result, the behavior of the individuals with the condition is a threat to the members of the family and the society. Mentally ill people are more likely to be arrested and convicted for violence than normal people. Law enforcement officials are not always trained to identify the mentally ill people breaking the law (Keers, Ullrich, DeStavola, & Coid, 2013. In addition, they may feel that bringing mentally ill people to the criminal justice system is their obligation. In addition, the courts may fail to recognize the difference between the normal and the mentally ill offenders, which means that the mentally ill are convicted rather than treated. Therefore, the rate of schizophrenic people brought to justice and incarcerated is disproportion with the number of people with the disease in the general population. Moreover, the number of schizophrenic individuals facing life imprisonment is relatively large.
On the other hand, violent schizophrenic people are free within their societies, despite being diagnosed with the condition and portraying violent behavior at home or in public. This disparity occurs in various societies. While the issue of reporting or involvement of the police in stopping and arresting these people may be used to explain the reason for the disparity, there is no clear empirical evidence to show the cause of the problem.
This study seeks to find evidence to explain this phenomenon from an empirical perspective. It seeks to examine the factors that make some schizophrenic people become long-term inmates while other violent schizophrenic people are free in society. Despite the increasing volume of research-based information about schizophrenia and violence or schizophrenia and incarceration, the existing knowledge does not address the disparity between the difference between the existence of a large number of incarcerated schizophrenia patients and their colleagues who remain free despite their violent behavior.
Significance of the study
The study is expected to develop significant findings that will be used in academia as well as in policymaking, especially in educating the public, law enforcement, and other institutions involved in treating people with schizophrenia rather than incarcerating them.
Review of literature
Various studies have attempted to establish and explain the link between schizophrenia and imprisonment. Most studies have cited violent behavior as the main cause of the link between the two phenomena. However, other aspects such as crime poverty, inappropriate treatment, and homelessness have emerged as the potential explanation of the high number of schizophrenic individuals finding their way into long-term and life imprisonment in the US compared to their colleagues with the disease but living freely in their societies.
Out of the 600,000 homeless people in the US, more than 200,000 are schizophrenic, constituting more than 33% of the total number of the homeless population (Keers, Ullrich, DeStavola, & Coid, 2013. In addition, at any time in history, the number of untreated people with schizophrenia and other mental problems living in the streets but receiving care is large. It is estimated that more than 90,000 schizophrenic people are in hospitals for treatment but living freely within their families or the streets (Keers, Ullrich, DeStavola, & Coid, 2013.
The relationship between schizophrenia and violence is also an important aspect of the study. According to Stompe, Ortwein-Swoboda, and Schanda (2004), people with the condition are far more likely to cause harm to themselves than being violent towards other people. It has been shown that other than self-violence, violence is not a major symptom of schizophrenia. However, the media and public perceptions tend to link mental illness of all kinds with violence and the propensity to commit violent crimes. Instead, studies have shown that most schizophrenic people are not violent towards others.
On the other hand, it has been shown that drug and alcohol abuse, which is a common tendency of the homeless and unattended people in the streets, increases the rate of violence among the mentally ill people, including the schizophrenic (Lindqvist & Allebeck, 2007). In addition, those with psychotic and paranoid symptoms, especially after the withdrawal of medication, are at high risk of committing violence.
Therefore, it is clear that the existing studies indicate that the high number of schizophrenic people being incarcerated for life is most likely associated with several social factors. For instance, social inability to care for the patients, poor education given to the police and other law enforcers, poverty, homelessness and the availability of drugs and alcohol to schizophrenic people increase the problem (Stompe, Ortwein-Swoboda & Schanda, 2004). This could explain why there is a disparity between the violent schizophrenic people in the streets and neighborhoods and their colleagues incarcerated for capital crimes. The issues of treatment and care are important in explaining the problem, but empirical studies are needed to verify the worthiness of the explanation.
Keers, R., Ullrich, S., DeStavola, B. L., & Coid, J. W. (2013). Association of violence with emergence of persecutory delusions in untreated schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 13(3), 147-154.
Lindqvist, P., & Allebeck, P. (2007). Schizophrenia and assaultive behaviour: the role of alcohol and drug abuse. Acta Pyschiatrica Scandinavica, 832(3), 1911-195.
Stompe, T., Ortwein-Swoboda, G., & Schanda, H. (2004). Schizophrenia, delusional symptoms, and violence: The threat/control-override concept reexamined. Schizophrenia bulletin, 30(1), 31-32.