Mental Health Disorders

In 150-200 words.

  • What is your opinion on the consequences of individuals with mental health disorders in the justice systems? Provide
  • Make sure to cite your sources when providing examples.

The following diagnoses are classified as“severe mental illnesses”

• Schizophrenia

• Schizoaffective disorder

• Bipolar disorder

• Major depressive disorders

• Panic disorder

• Obsessive-compulsive disorder

• Pervasive developmental disorder or autism

• Anorexia nervosa

• Bulimia nervosaRemember that civil commitment is targeted at preventing harms that are caused by people who are both mentally ill and dangerous.


Individuals with severe mental illnesses face significant challenges within the justice system. Research shows that they are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, often due to their symptoms and behaviors being misunderstood or misinterpreted by law enforcement officers and court officials. For example, individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may exhibit erratic behavior during encounters with police, leading to arrest rather than appropriate mental health intervention (Source: Lamb, H. R., Weinberger, L. E., & DeCuir, W. J. (2002)). Furthermore, once in the system, they may struggle to access adequate mental health treatment and support, leading to cycles of recidivism (Source: Skeem, J. L., & Manchak, S. M. (2008)). Civil commitment laws aimed at preventing harm may help ensure that individuals with severe mental illnesses receive the treatment they need, but there is a delicate balance between protecting public safety and respecting individuals’ civil liberties. Therefore, it is crucial for the justice system to adopt strategies that prioritize diversion and rehabilitation over incarceration for individuals with mental health disorders.

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