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Correctional institutions increasingly hold a higher proportion of individuals with mental illness in comparison to the general proportion. In fact, various statistics indicate that the numbers of inmates who suffer from mental illnesses are twice as many as patients in our psychiatric facilities. Unsurprisingly, an international review involving 22,790 prisoners observed that there is a substantially higher risk of having a major psychiatric disorder in a prison facility as compared to the general population. Such unnerving statistics highlight the need to determine the impact of inmate mental illness on correctional facilities.

The consequences of mental illness at their worst may involve homicidal and suicidal ideations. This means that inmates with mental illnesses pose a risk not only to themselves but also to the staff and other inmates. The consequence of such risk is that prison facilities must come up with sufficient mitigating factors not only to avoid security risks but also to effectively address escalations in case of homicidal attempts and in deterring and determining the best course of action in such situations.

One of the major problems facing inmates with mental illnesses is that those at the highest risks such as from homicidal ideation are often unlikely to seek for treatment (Burns, 2009). These further highlight the need for the correctional facilities to have a significantly higher number of well-trained psychiatrists who would be in a better position to address the concerns of patients with mental illnesses. The reaction of most prison facilities in imposing punishments on prisoners who go against the correction facilities rules negates the fact that these prisoners may need treatment rather than punishment. Whereas increasing security measures is important, the effectiveness of dealing with inmates with mental illness and who may pose a danger to the rest will significantly be more successful where the prison administrators see treatment as an option.

The inmates with mental illnesses therefore will pose significant financial burden on the correctional facilities. The number of personnel dealing with issues to do with mental illness would be higher. Facilities that are used to treat these patients including high security facilities specifically for such individuals will also increase the financial burden of the facilities. However, taking care of the health needs of our prisoners is a responsibility that correctional facilities must undertake despite its cost.

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