Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About It / Edition 1

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Overview

VIOLENCE. BRUTALITY. RAPE. OVERCROWDING. ISOLATION.

DEPRESSION. SCHIZOPHRENIA. DELUSIONS. HALLUCINATIONS. SUICIDE.

PRISON MADNESS

Our correctional facilities have become inadequate and ill-prepared psychiatric wards-the largest purveyors of mental health services in the United States today. This country's correctional system houses well over a quarter of a million men and women who require mental health treatment. An unprecedented number of prisoners enter the system already in need of psychiatric attention, and countless others suffer emotional breakdowns inside as a result of the brutal, cruel, and inhumane treatment experienced behind bars.

In prison, these men and women are subjected to ridicule, abuse, and punitive policies that worsen their psychiatric disorders and exacerbate an already explosive situation. Without adequate treatment, many wind up in punitive solitary confinement or subjecting themselves to a self-imposed isolation in their own cells-where their condition deteriorates. The result is a major hazard, not only to the prison population and their caretakers, but once released, these brutalized and broken individuals constitute a real and documented threat to our communities.
Terry Kupers, an expert in the field of forensic psychiatry, not only exposes the sad fact that prisons, by design, fail miserably to correct, he also offers a prescription, A CALL TO ACTION for immediate prison reform. Kupers outlines successful programs throughout the United States and the world and makes practical recommendations, including guidelines for the upgrade and revitalization of rehabilitation programs and the development of comprehensive mental health services.

Kupers' passionate plea will empower judges, lawmakers, mental health practitioners, and citizens to use their influence to put an end to prison crowding and STOP sending nonviolent and mentally disordered felons onto prison yards with murderers and rapists. Prison Madness signals a growing movement intent on exposing current prison policies and the treatment of mentally disordered prisoners as cruel and unusual punishment.

A Disturbing and Shocking Exposé-A Passionate Cry for Reform

Prison Madness exposes the brutality and failure of today's correctional system-for all prisoners-but especially the incredible conditions endured by those suffering from serious mental disorders.

"A passionately argued and brilliantly written wake-up call to America about the myriad ways our penal systems brutalize our entire culture. Dr. Kupers not only diagnoses the problem, he also offers a set of solutions. I hope this book will be read by all concerned citizens and voters, for it conveys truths that are vitally important to all of us."
James Gilligan, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and author of Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic

"Dr. Kupers reminds us that cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of inmates-particularly those who are mentally ill-violates their rights, betrays our national commitment to decency, and jeopardizes the safety of our communities. A splendid book."
Jamie Fellner, associate counsel, Human Rights Watch

"A chilling picture of how American prisons have become among the most barbaric in the world driving petty offenders and dangerous people alike into madness. We must consider the madness of a public policy that routinely turns nonviolent offenders into dangerous misfits who threaten our safety when released."
Joseph D. McNamara, research fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and retired police chief, San Jose, California

"Prison Madness reveals the disturbing realities of prisons and jails as places of coerced refuge for poor and mentally disordered people. With this powerful and provocative analysis of the intersecting crises in the public mental health and prison systems, Terry Kupers shows us how to contest the racism and the criminalization of poverty that have helped to produce these dangerous dilemmas."
Angela Y. Davis, professor, University of California, Santa Cruz

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A passionately argued and brilliantly written wake-up call to America about the myriad ways our penal systems brutalize our entire culture. Dr. Kupers not only diagnoses the problem, he also offers a set of solutions. I hope this book will be read by all concerned citizens and voters, for it conveys truths that are vitally important to all of us." (James Gilligan, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and author of Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic)

"A chilling picture of how American prisons have become among the most barbaric in the world driving petty offAnders and dangerous people alike into madness. We must consider the madness of a public policy that routinely turns nonviolent offAnders into dangerous misfits who threaten our safety when released." (Joseph D. McNamara, research fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and retired police chief, San Jose, California)

"Dr. Kupers reminds us that cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of inmates-particularly those who are mentally ill-violates their rights, betrays our national commitment to decency, and jeopardizes the safety of our communities. A splendid book." (Jamie Fellner, associate counsel, Human Rights Watch)

"Prison Madness reveals the disturbing realities of prisons and jails as places of coerced refuge for poor and mentally disordered people. With this powerful and provocative analysis of the intersecting crises in the public mental health and prison systems, Terry Kupers shows us how to contest the racism and the criminalization of poverty that have helped to produce these dangerous dilemmas." (Angela Y. Davis, professor, University of California, Santa Cruz)

" . . . Kupers had free access and unfettered contacts that few outsiders are afforded, and has credibility that few outsiders can acquire." (Hans Toch, from the Foreword)

"Prison Madness—with its cogent analysis of our correctional system and the mental health crisis within it—can serve as a much-needed beacon." (Readings: A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health)

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Aimee St. Pierre, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book is a description of the psychological effects of imprisonment in the U.S. correctional system and the failings of the system for all prisoners, particularly those who suffer from mental disorders.
Purpose: The purpose is to awaken the pubic to the abuses that the author has witnessed in prisons, and to promote discussion about the purpose of incarceration, conditions of confinement, and provision of mental health services in correctional settings. The author achieves these goals by providing a detailed description of prison conditions and their effect on inmates, particularly the mentally ill, and by delineating the inadequacy and/or lack of treatment available for prisoners suffering from mental diseases and the consequences of this lack of treatment.
Audience: The audience targeted includes the general public. The book would also be useful for mental health practitioners, administrators, and other personnel in the correctional system. The author, a forensic psychiatrist with extensive experience in the prison system, has also served as an expert in prisoners' rights litigation and is a credible authority.
Features: The author describes the mentally ill inmate, the conditions in prison that both cause and contribute to mental illness, and the state of mental health services in the correctional system, as well as strategies to improve the care of prisoners, including the role of litigation in this process.
Assessment: This well-written book will educate readers regarding the conditions in correctional facilities (particularly long-term maximum security prisons) and the effects these conditions have on the mental health of prisoners. The author's emphasis in later chapters on the ultimate social consequences of the mistreatment and psychological neglect of prisoners is of interest, and may be persuasive to readers who dismiss the conditions in prisons as justly deserved by inmates.
Aimee St. Pierre
This book is a description of the psychological effects of imprisonment in the U.S. correctional system and the failings of the system for all prisoners, particularly those who suffer from mental disorders. The purpose is to awaken the pubic to the abuses that the author has witnessed in prisons, and to promote discussion about the purpose of incarceration, conditions of confinement, and provision of mental health services in correctional settings. The author achieves these goals by providing a detailed description of prison conditions and their effect on inmates, particularly the mentally ill, and by delineating the inadequacy and/or lack of treatment available for prisoners suffering from mental diseases and the consequences of this lack of treatment. The audience targeted includes the general public. The book would also be useful for mental health practitioners, administrators, and other personnel in the correctional system. The author, a forensic psychiatrist with extensive experience in the prison system, has also served as an expert in prisoners' rights litigation and is a credible authority. The author describes the mentally ill inmate, the conditions in prison that both cause and contribute to mental illness, and the state of mental health services in the correctional system, as well as strategies to improve the care of prisoners, including the role of litigation in this process. This well-written book will educate readers regarding the conditions in correctional facilities (particularly long-term maximum security prisons) and the effects these conditions have on the mental health of prisoners. The author's emphasis in later chapters on the ultimate social consequences of themistreatment and psychological neglect of prisoners is of interest, and may be persuasive to readers who dismiss the conditions in prisons as justly deserved by inmates.
Library Journal
Kupers, a forensic psychiatrist and psychology professor at the Wright Institute, has been an active observer at county jails for 25 years and has served as an expert witness in court cases involving treatment of prisoners. Here he delivers a powerful and constructive criticism of the attitudes prison professionals hold toward inmates and the way inmates are physically handled, especially the mentally disturbed but also women and racial minorites. He focuses on abysmal physical conditions, unsanitary and often physically threatening overcrowding, the traumatization and debasement of prisoners, worker burn-out, and woefully inadequate inpatient, psychiatric, or counseling services, contributing to increasing individual dysfunction and financed by taxpayers. Kupers concludes his cogent presentation by suggesting strategies for a quantum shift in mindset (madness no longer seen as badness) to realize a climate of, at least, support for the basic constitutional and human rights of prisoners. Highly recommended for academics and professionals.--Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
A. Weinstein
[E]xcellent...Kupers is a writer with clarity and humanity about the madness endemic to prisoners—and to prisons. Each issue he presents is framed through case reprts that give us first-person accounts of real, suffering people.
Tikkun

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787943615
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/5/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,016,057
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

TERRY KUPERS M.D., a psychiatrist and professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, is cochair of the Committee on the Mentally Ill Behind Bars of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. He has served as an expert witness in more than a dozen class action lawsuits concerning the conditions of confinement and the adequacy of mental health services in jails and prisons. Kupers has also served as a consultant to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and to Human Rights Watch.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xxxi

Introduction 1

Part I: The Mental Health Crisis

1. The Mentally Ill Behind Bars 9

2. Why So Many Prisoners Develop Mental Disorder 39

3. The Failure of Current Mental Health Programs 65

Part II: What Goes on Behind Bars

4. Racism: A Mental Health Hazard 93

5. Special Programs for Women 113

6. Rape and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 137

7. Lack of Contact with Loved Ones 157

8. Prison Suicide 175

Part III: An Immodest Proposal

9. The Possibilities and Limits of Litigation 193

10. Recommendations for Treatment and Rehabilitation 217

11. The Folly of Law and Order 257

Endnotes 275

For Further Reading 287

About the Author 291

Index 293

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