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Incarcerated Interactions

A Theory-Driven Analysis of Applied Prison Communication

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Edited By Erik D. Fritsvold and Jonathan M. Bowman

Incarcerated Interactions: A Theory-Driven Analysis of Applied Prison Communication is an innovative, applied edited book that uses core interdisciplinary social science theories to analyze and describe the social psychology and sociology of communicative interactions amongst incarcerated individuals. Beginning with the fundamentals of human interactions, this edited volume allows scholars across a variety of disciplines (such as criminology, sociology, communication studies, social psychology, anthropology, and economics) to become familiar with and apply the core principles and the requisite terminology of human communication within a criminological context. Each of the four sections of the text not only build upon the knowledge structures of previous chapters, but also function as stand-alone analyses and/or applications of extant scholarship within essential contexts. From a general discussion of core social science theory to the specific application of that theory in a range of scholarly contexts, this book addresses relevant issues such as mental illness and wellness, the gendered experience of inmates, recidivism rates, violence, the criminogenic effect of incarceration and the large-scale implications of prison gangs and their associated cultural influence, to name a few.

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16. A Cry for Help: The Plight of the Mentally Ill in Prison : Kelly Stone

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16. A Cry for Help: The Plight of the Mentally Ill in Prison

KELLY STONE

While incarceration appears—on the surface—to be the most logical consequence for criminal offenses, one cannot ignore the controversial nature of putting the mentally ill behind bars. The incarceration of individuals with mental disorders has dramatically increased since the 1960’s (Daniel, 2007). This trend has greatly impacted corrections systems across the country. The plight of mentally ill people in prisons has been affected by multiple factors, including historical events, economic considerations, public opinion, prison policies, and prison culture. This paper will look at the impact of these factors on mentally ill inmates, with a focus on the deinstitutionalization movement and the implications of prison policies and prison culture in shaping and defining the plight of the mentally ill in prisons.

Historically, the 1960’s and 1970’s were characterized by a massive closure of state mental institutions. This occurred as a result of terrible conditions in mental health facilities, significant over-crowding, misdiagnoses, questionable treatments such as lobotomies, and the discovery of many new anti-psychotic medications (LSEJ, n.d.). While state mental hospitals housed an estimated 559,000 mentally ill patients in 1959, that number dropped to about 70,000 by the late 1990’s, largely as a result of the deinstitutionalization movement (NICIC., n.d.). Community based programs for the mentally ill were supposed to provide an alternative to institutionalization. However, the development of these programs...

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