Where is the ‘illness’ in the criminalization of mental illness?

Pages9-21
Publication Date10 Dec 2002
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1016/S0192-0812(03)80015-6
AuthorJeffrey Draine
WHERE IS THE 'ILLNESS' IN THE
CRIMINALIZATION OF MENTAL
ILLNESS?
Jeffrey Draine
ABSTRACT
Conceptualizing mental illness too generally as a cause of criminal
involvement is not useful for policy or service implications. Such a
strategy decontextualizes the experience of people with mental illness from
broader incarceration patterns in the U.S. When the reasons people go to
jail or return to jail are examined, it becomes clear that the key issues are
social difficulties complicated by mental illness - but not caused by mental
illness. To inform community mental health practice, future research
should account for the broader social context of criminal behavior and
interventions should be more carefully integrated into the broader policy
context of criminal justice systems.
INTRODUCTION
In the past 30 years, intensive interest in the intersection of mental illness and
the criminal justice system has been multifarious. Two major areas or
"streams" of interest have developed somewhat independently. The first stream
is the "forensic" stream. While all streams of the literature dealing with mental
illness-criminal justice interactions are somehow associated with the courts, the
Community-Based Interventions for Criminal Offenders with Severe Mental Illness,
Volume 12, pages 9-21.
Copyright © 2003 by Elsevier Science Ltd.
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
ISBN: 0-7623-0972-5

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