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Female Offenders and Psychiatric Counseling: Criminal Justice Implications - Essay Example

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An essay "Female Offenders and Psychiatric Counseling: Criminal Justice Implications" outlines that the number of female inmates presents a challenge both to the criminal justice and mental health systems. The fact is that women offenders display higher levels of mental health complications…
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Female Offenders and Psychiatric Counseling: Criminal Justice Implications
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Download file to see previous pages The growing number of female inmates presents a serious challenge both to the criminal justice and mental health systems. The fact is that women offenders display higher levels of mental health complications and diagnoses than their male counterparts. That, however, does not mean that women are more likely to be referred to psychiatric counseling than men. It appears that, as the number of female inmates continues to increase, prisons and jails fail to catch up with the pace of change in inmate demographics. Like many years ago, the criminal justice system lacks resources needed to meet women’s health needs. The corrections system continues to ignore the health care needs of female prisoners, turning mental health complications into the most viable explanation for women’s criminal acts. Women offenders: Really mentally ill? That women-offenders are more likely than incarcerated men to display the signs and symptoms of mental health complications have been abundantly established. The current state of research provides a wealth of information concerning the most serious mental health challenges faced by incarcerated women. Understanding the mental health trends in women offenders is crucial for the development of more relevant criminal justice frameworks and detecting the stereotyping and bias affecting female inmates in the corrections system (Freudenberg 2002). ... This is probably why the largest percentage changes in delinquency have been noted in female youth (Cruise, Marsee, Dandreaux & DePrato 2007; Snyder & Sickmund 2006). However, the link between mental health complications and crimes committed by female offenders are beyond the scope of this discussion. More important is the current state of mental health in women-prisoners and its implications for the criminal justice processes affecting the corrections system. In this sense, the results reported by Cruise et al. (2007) are mostly similar to those found in Covington (2007); 73.8% of female youth serving short terms meet the criteria for at least one mental health diagnosis. By contrast, only 66.3% of male prisoners have similar problems (Cruise et al. 2007). It is interesting to note, that high prevalence of psychiatric disorders in women-offenders is one of the major features distinguishing them from male prisoners (Bloom & Covington 1998). Other distinguishing features include (a) low levels of violent offenses committed by women; (b) substance abuse problems; (c) single motherhood, and (d) poverty and lack of professional skills (Bloom & Covington 1998). Among psychiatric complications in female offenders, drug abuse and drug dependence is the most prevalent source of medical concern (Bloom & Covington 1998). In addition to drug dependence, almost every fifth female prisoner meets the criteria for a major depressive episode, including post-traumatic stress disorder (Teplin, Abram & McClelland 1996). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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