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Mental Health and Our Legal System

Mental Health and Our Legal System
Mental Health and Our Legal SystemResources
PSYC Discussion Participation Scoring Guide.

Since many mental institutions are closing, prisons are becoming more populated with individuals with mental health issues. Treating mentally ill individuals in prison is very important, in particular the environment and the treatment that is provided. If those with mental health issues are not treated appropriately, their symptoms could worsen, and this could violate their rights.
There are, however, problems when it comes to treating seriously mentally ill inmates. One issue is the lack of training of correctional officers as it relates to mental health. Another important issue is the refusal of treatment by the inmates. The refusal of treatment could be caused by any number of factors: inmates may lack awareness of their own illness, inmates may not think they are sick, et cetera. The right to refuse treatment raises questions of laws and ethics.
For this discussion, read the following case vignette and answer the questions below. Use information from professional sources to support your thinking:
Sarah is serving 5 years for illegal drug trafficking, possession, and abuse; this is her fourth offense and second time being incarcerated. Sarah has also been diagnosed with having schizophrenia. She refuses to take her prescription medications and tries to self-medicate with illegal drugs. While incarcerated, Sarah continues to refuse her medication and treatment but often has episodes as a result of her illness. The prison guards, not being trained on mental illness, interpret her behavior as being noncompliant and difficult.
What ethical concerns are there with regards to the right to refuse treatment?
How do laws affect treatment of inmates with mental illness in regard to the right to refuse treatment?
Response Guidelines
Respond to at least two of your peers and expand on their ideas related to the ethics and laws surrounding an inmate’s right to refuse treatment. Cite references in APA style. 350 words.

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