Prisons are a dumping ground for mentally disordered offenders. Critically analyse whether we should be treating mentally disordered offenders or punishing their infractions – Essay Example

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The situation rather differs in the prisons where the few personnel cannot maintain law and order especially given the high number of prisoners that have succeeded in overcrowding the prisons (Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, 2009). The appalling situation in most prisons in the United Kingdom leaves the prisoners exposed to myriad assaults key among which is sexual assault by fellow inmates. The abject lawlessness in the prisons coupled with the overcrowding of most prisons in the country makes the mentally ill prisoners vulnerable to assaulters. Sexual aggression in prisons is on the rise.

Such crimes worsen the state of the mentally ill patients who are both mentally unstable and often violent. The mentally ill prisoners constitute easy preys to their aggressors who take advantage of their unstable minds to assault them. Additionally, such assault contributes to the rise in violence in prisons since the mentally unstable react differently to such crimes. Their various reactions often include violence a feature that exposes both themselves and their cellmates to substantial harm as either party strives to protect themselves from each other.

As acts of aggression and assault make prisons inappropriate for the mentally ill since the prisoners suffer from numerous assault including sexual assault (Cavadino & Dignan, 2007). As expected, sexual assault leaves the mentally ill prisoners susceptible to different venereal diseases including HIV among many others. Furthermore, the situation in most of the prisons in the country have the potential of causing madness in both the mentally ill prisoners and the normal prisoners. as discussed earlier, the situation in the country’s prisons is appalling with most prisons experiencing overcrowding. Additionally, most prisoners suffer depression owing to the inhumane treatments of the prisoners coupled with the lawlessness in the prisons (The Howard League for Penal Reform, 2012).

The understaffing in most prisons denies the prisoners the dedicated attention of the reformers. In fact, in most prisons, the prisoners manage themselves in organized groupings. Through such illicit systems of management, the prison officers have minimal jobs. However, the system leaves more prisoners exposed to the authorities in the prisons. Such intensify the maltreatment of prisoners a fact that compel most prisoners to commit suicide thereby contributing to the rising number of deaths in prisons. Additionally, the lack of companionship in prisons as the prisoners does not have their friends and families drive most of the prisoners to depression.


Bromley, B., 2013, Prison: The Facts, The Prison Reform Trust.

Newburn, T., 2007, Prisons and Imprisonment. In: Criminology Cullompton: Willan Publishing.

Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health., 2009, Briefing 38: The Bradley Report and the Governments Response: The Implications for mental health services for offenders.

Crewe, B., 2011, Depth, weight, tightness: revisiting the pains of imprisonment, Punishmnent & Society, Vol. 13(5),pp. 509-529.

The Howard League for Penal Reform, 2012, Prison Owercrowding.

Cavadino, M. & Dignan, J., 2007, The Penal System 4th ed. London: Sage.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us