Managing mental disabilities in prisons requires corrections therapies for disabled prisoners, but unfortunately most prisons today are not equipped to handle the escalating number of prisoners who exhibit signs of mental health problems.
Criminals Have Dreams Too
“I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope.” – Aeschylus, Greek Playwright
This famous playwright spoke to the heart of the need for corrections therapies for disabled prisoners with this brief line from one of his most famous works, Agamemnon. Most prisoners in our criminal justice system today have their hopes and dreams for their futures, but for the many who are also dealing with mental health problems the hope grows dimmer by the day.
At any given moment, we are dealing with millions of prison inmates all over the country who have mental health problems of some variety. Some are lucky enough to be placed in prisons equipped with full functioning corrections therapies for disabled prisoners, but too many go untreated or are placed in segregated cells where they are confined rather than treated.
Therapy Behind Bars
Corrections therapies for disabled prisoners are needed in order to effectively manage mental health disabilities in prisons, but they are not widely available in many state prisons. Further, too many inmates are not willing participants in treatment programs that do exist.
Most prisons are equipped to hand out psychotropic drugs for prisoners who are diagnosed as having severe mental health problems, but counseling programs that help effectively treat mental health problems in prison are inadequate, to say the least. That is why some community organizations are starting to step in to help with managing mental health disabilities in prisons.
Creative Corrections Therapies for Disabled Prisoners
Walk onto the inmate courtyard at the maximum security Indiana State Prison and you will see something unexpected: cats roaming freely, being cuddled by inmates convicted of murder, and having kittens on the prison premises. A few stray cats coming onto prison grounds and having kittens has now given birth to a cat therapy program that many prisoners claim has changed them from the inside out.
With Indiana State Prison’s cat program, inmates adopt the stray cats and take care of them as if they were their own children. Inmates in for hardcore crimes and even many with mental health problems are able to bond with and care for their cats with unexpected tenderness.
This is just one example of therapies for disabled prisoners which are now being used in prisons around the country. Some other creative therapies in use include music and art therapy programs. They have proven to help inmates adjust to life behind bars and fix problems with anger as well as mental health problems.
The problem with these unconventional therapies for disabled prisoners is they are too expensive for the criminal justice system to operate on their own. Most are maintained by outside nonprofit organizations or social groups who want to make a difference inside prisons.
More of these creative corrections therapies for disabled prisoners are needed to give prisoners that hope they so desperately want to cling to. Efficiently operating corrections therapies for disabled prisoners have the potential to intervene with those who have mental health problems so they are treated prior to release and thus less likely to repeat their crimes.