Thursday, 2 August 2018

In prison for being mentally ill?

An article "Research into the Mental Health of prisoners, digested" in today's British Psychological Society Research Bulletin interested me because it is clear that many people in prison have mental health problems and there is a real danger that if someone who is mentally ill is put in prison punishing them it will not help anyone if they are treated in a way that makes their mental illness worse.
The subject interests me because there is a link to the picture in the heading of this blog which shows someone trapped behind the screen of a laptop trying to break out. It is meant to represent the way that we are all becoming trapped, in one way or another, by the way that computers control the way that society works. However it also is a personal reminder of what happened to my daughter Lucy, In 1984 she spent some time as a patient in a psychiatric hospital. Shortly after her discharge, but still an outpatient, she became hyperactive, and was asked to stop attending the rehabilitation class as she was disturbing the others, Shortly afterwards her behaviour became so extreme that it came (rightly) to the attention of the police, Because a doctor ruled she was "not mentally ill" she ended up on remand in "The Muppet House" in Holloway prison. She was transferred to a psychiatric hospital, badly damaged by the experience, shortly after the Court of Appeal had ruled, in the case of the young mentally ill lady in the next cell, that the NHS should not use prisons as a dumping ground to save money. Lucy killed herself a year after her arrest thinking that she must be really wicked to have ended up being treated so abominably. I was shattered by these events - and my post traumatic stress disorder was one of the main reasons why I abandoned my CODIL research.

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