Behind Bars and Beneath the Surface: Exploring the Shadows of Mental Health in Correctional Institutions

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Mohammed, Khadijah
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This capstone project analyzes eight qualitative and quantitative peer-reviewed studies that explore the aspects of incarcerated individuals' experiences and developing mental illness, specifically depression. Mental health challenges and limited access to mental health resources ultimately hinder treatment and rehabilitation. Mental illness is characterized by clinically significant disturbances in an individual's cognition, emotional regulation, behavior, or a combination of these factors. It is typically associated with distress, trauma, and impairment in vital areas of functioning. In this capstone project, I break down barriers and stigmatization by embracing restorative justice, promoting mental health awareness, and implementing enriched, amended prison reform. This fosters meaningful connections among incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, correctional administration, and society. While effective, evidence-based treatment exists, there are many barriers these individuals face from referral to treatment. This paper reviews the existing literature while examining, comparing, and contrasting restorative justice frameworks and presents findings highlighting the diminution of mental health, specifically depression, in prisons. In this capstone project, I make recommendations that therapists reflect on and enhance their roles and duties within the multi-disciplinary systems that support incarcerated individuals with mental illness. Furthermore, the insights gained from this capstone may inform further knowledge for therapists regarding incarceration and depression.
jail , prison , mental health , depression , stigmatization , incarceration , rehabilitation , social constructivism , restorative justice , prison reform , empathy , incarcerated individuals , mental illness , cognition