Forensic hospitalization averages $500 per day while a jail’s housing cost is only $50.00. Buelle (2003) comments that “shifts in public policy regarding public safety, de-institutionalization of mental health populations and complexities in accessing funding for mental health treatment all have contributed to this problem” (p. 141). Sabbatine (2007) add that jail is the only institution that accepts everyone legally presented for custody unlike some mental health institutions which have admission criteria. That is why there is a growing population of mentally disturbed offenders in correctional facilities.
However, since these inmates are psychologically ill, they have the right to be treated while incarcerated. The American Psychiatric Association, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the American Correctional Association all agree that these inmates need to go through screening and diagnosis so the necessary treatment can be done. Diagnosis is determined from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth Edition (DSM-IV). This system has a five axis/ level structure. The most significant disorders are on the first axis and are termed Axis I disorders, which include schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and major depression, among others. Mentally ill offenders are at times identified by these Axis I disorders. (Norton, 2005). Treatment would include a variety of care options incorporating crisis intervention, ongoing psychiatric treatment – accompanied by psychotropic medication, if prescribed, and well-trained mental health staff who undergo an ongoing training program in the treatment and care of the mentally ill (Maloney, Ward & Jackson, 2003).
There are many available options for treatment of mentally disturbed offenders ranging from simple psychotherapy to psychotropic medication to community-based therapy. These shall be described in detail as follows:
A number of counseling and psychotherapeutic