December 9, 2013
Prisoners with Special Needs
There are many different types of prisoners with special needs. When people think or hear of prisoners with special needs they automatically think of prisoners that are mentally ill, which is not the case at all. There are many different kinds of special needs that are looked at when prisoners are first screened when sent to prison. There are juvenile offenders, drug offenders, aging offenders, and mentally ill offenders. Not all offenders are alike. While they all require housing, meals, supervision, and productive activities, some groups require additional services or care (University of Phoenix, 2011).
The way that many of the special needs, mentally ill, and serious substance abusing prisoners affect the jail and prison systems is not all prison facilities are set up to meet the needs of all offenders (University of Phoenix, 2011). Many times prisoners are required to see specially trained staff outside of prison that can be expensive. Prison staff may also have to arrange different living conditions for some of the special needs offenders. There are many challenges that prison staff has to look at when dealing with special offenders as well. Those that deal with diseases or infections like HIV/AIDS also have to be isolated from general population as other inmates can contract the disease. Some of the ways that drug offenders affect the prison and jail systems are with the variety of drug treatment programs that are needed to assist drug offenders and the specialized medical care for drug related illnesses. Mentally ill offenders affect prisons and jails through the need of Psychotropic medications, psychiatrist access, mental health therapies, and staff trained to work with the chronically mentally ill (University of Phoenix, 2011). This type of assistance can be very costly to the state of federal prison system. Special needs offenders like juvenile offenders affect jail and the prison system as these correctional facilities must segregate juveniles from adult offenders, make sure that they have staff that is trained to work with the youth, have educational programs, and treatment programs that are designed for youth (University of Phoenix, 2011). Aging offenders also affect the prison and jail system due to the specialized medical and health care they require the accessibility issues that some aging offenders demand, and the safety of aging offenders in a mixed population. All of these things require the attention of the prison and jail staff.
If special needs prisoners were not cared for properly there would be many issues, including litigations, inmates’ health may deteriorate and their legal right would be violated. Special needs inmates depend on the different type of treatments or programs in order to survive or to rehabilitate themselves. If drug offenders were not given some time of drug treatment program, it could have a significant impact on their behavior as well. Drug offenders may start using drugs to cope with their addiction, which in turn can mean more violence within the prison walls. Every special needs inmate depends on the different type of treatments or