Criminal Justice System and Mental Illness

Knowing right from wrong makes all the difference when dealing with mental illness and the court system. Of course, those filling up jails and prisons are mentally ill, to a degree, and many of them are smart enough to crawl under the umbrella of mental illness to escape their sentence. Likewise a great many, while in prison have seen the error of their ways and have used the sentence as a way to heal themselves.

This topic of knowing right from wrong surfaced today while reading mental illness headlines. It seems that many are shouting that dollars need be spent to to treat mental illness in jails and in prisons. This is good and is something that should be considered, but there is that caution that says, those likely to repeat their offenses should not be so easily turned loose.

In a way it seems this is just another item that can be turned into a reason to generate hostility and a cause that many will want to take up arms against. That method of dealing with mental illness is a sick idea. The courts must keep to their distinction between insanity – knowing right from wrong – and mental illness in general. An ill mind is not a safe mind, that is true, but not all ill minds are criminal minds.

A person using a free will to plot a crime of murder, is not a well mind, but most often they know it is something they should not do. Neither should they be allowed to spend their sentence in a hospital with others who may not know right from wrong.

This is one small attempt to set the thinking straight about any attempts to use the mental illness labeling to avoid incarceration. When a crime has been committed, justice must be served. A more hopeful setting is one where the prisoner has the time, and the safety, of learning about themselves, why they did what they did, not the time to plot how to undo the system that put them in prison.

Yes, treat the mentally ill, but be sure everyone involved knows the difference between right and wrong. That is a lesson society, as a whole, has been reluctant to learn. To get a better picture of what this article alludes to read the experts – listed below –  who have much to say on the subject. Most everyone agree that justice is a good thing, and they too agree it is often misused when the mental illness labeling is applied as if it is apart from most people, at some point in time.

It is to the degree that most people, if they are truthful, will admit they have had times when their own mind was something that they prefer to keep in the closet. A mind bent on wellness will welcome knowledge of their mental ill moments, days, hours, and will wonder why and what were they thinking. It is no disgrace to admit to being human, but pretending to blameless for fear others will point an accusing finger of mental misgivings, is no right.

Look at those shameful moments in this way: Most of life’s lessens have been learned the hard way, why not share them and help someone else will what has been learned from introspection and the will to do the right thing. The courts will thank you, and so will God. He may even offer a few tips on how to persevere when the crowd comes after you, thinking you are Pandora.