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The Forum > Article Comments > Donít go down the road to Gatton > Comments

Donít go down the road to Gatton : Comments

By Dawn Joyce, published 25/7/2007

Mainstream prisons are the default mental health system for many high-needs clients.

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The rates of schizophrenia amongst males and females is about the same (1.2:1), so why are so many males with schizophrenia put in jail.
Posted by HRS, Wednesday, 25 July 2007 9:14:21 AM
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Interesting question, HRS. I'm hoping the author is reading the comments, as I'm sure there are accepted explanations for the disparity in sex ratios of schizophrenic prisoners.

Meanwhile, at $161.40 per prisoner per day, the arithmentic shows that a year of prison, at 365.25 days per year, adds up to $58,951.35 per prisoner. Say $60k per prisoner per year, for a round figure estimate.

An analysis of who profits by the prison system would be interesting to me. Some measure of immediate protection is provided to the wider community, but at what cost, and to who else's benefit?
Posted by Sir Vivor, Wednesday, 25 July 2007 10:01:20 AM
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And even with the tragic situation of the prisons being filled with these people some still want to legalise drugs which often trigger schizophrenia. I could say that almost without exception the dozens of people suffering schizophrenia that I know are or have been drug takers.
Posted by runner, Wednesday, 25 July 2007 11:04:40 AM
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I'd have to agree with the idea that main stream prisons are not the place for the mentally ill. They are not designed for this purpose and so form an inefficient and ineffective solution to the problem.

HRS: Considering the 13.2:1 ratio of the overall jail population from yesterday's elephant article, the cases of schizophrenia a comparatively gender neutral.

runner: One has to wonder if the correlation between drugs and mental illness is perhaps due people being unable to deal with the symptoms and societies attitude towards them and turning to drugs as a way to escape?
Posted by Desipis, Wednesday, 25 July 2007 2:00:33 PM
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60,000 a year to keep someone in jail?

a lot of the people in there would obey the law for 40,000 a year. we seem to be missing a bet.
Posted by DEMOS, Wednesday, 25 July 2007 4:29:57 PM
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Brilliant idea, Runner. But how about putting the harshest penalties on the drugs that kill the most people? Alcohol and tobacco would be the best place to start, and mandatory sentencing for possession would not go astray either. Better get rid of those coldies....

The mentally disabled get disgraceful treatment because they lack a voice. Sadly the jailed patients are generally getting a better deal than many of the free ones. Mandatory standards of care with criminal penalties for breaches may be the only means to stop the appalling and ongoing abuse of these vulnerable and dependent people.

Surely there are more ethical ways to save a few bucks?
Posted by Fester, Wednesday, 25 July 2007 5:52:01 PM
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