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house Bill H.R. 1854

Increasing Mental Health Support for Inmates

Argument in favor

Poor mental healthcare contributes to recidivism, so this bill boosts the mental health resources available to people in the criminal justice system. This is a step toward reducing prison overcrowding and reducing crime overall.

pgshpak's Opinion
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08/23/2016
The incarceration system is a basic function of the government. Putting people in time out doesn't help them, doesn't rehabilitate them, and won't make them contribute to society when they are released. Mental health services and counseling can help along that path. This absolutely needs to happen, along with many other things.
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Christopher's Opinion
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08/23/2016
The argument that law abiding citizens should have better healthcare than convicted criminals is silly. These are not binary choices. We can have both and I hope this is a first step. Mental healthcare should be a fundamental right in the USA in the 21st century least of all because the results should elevate all of us. One would expect improved mental health to reduce crime, increase employment, increase social engagement, and overall happiness.
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Andrew's Opinion
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08/24/2016
I'm a psychotherapist and regularly volunteer in a prison where we practice meditation together. Two weeks ago we had a six hour retreat in the facility. Not every inmate takes advantage of these programs, but it's essential to offer more avenues to improve mental health and overall well-being if we are sincerely trying to rehabilitate people.
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Argument opposed

This bill gives a bunch of resources to people that have broken the law. When you break the law, you’re supposed to lose some of your rights, not be entitled to extra privileges while you're repaying your debt to society.

Taylor kruse's Opinion
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08/23/2016
The money that would go towards this should go instead as a preventative way of helping veterans and others who need the mental health care who aren't in prison, that way it might help prevent the individual from ending up in prison.
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Ron's Opinion
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08/24/2016
This is a tough choice. I indicate nay because its throwing money at a symptom of American society. The medical profession continues to come up with new mental health issues, when it truly comes down to only a few social issues. a) Parental abandonment; weather the parent died, was addicted to some form of drug or alchohol, inprisoned, or had to work multiple jobs to provide for the family. b) Saturation of mind controlling medication; this bill mentions inmates with mental illness. Society has a mental illness that is addressed by getting children addicted to medication that controls different facets of the mind. Then when they turn 18 the meds become more difficult to come by. Insurance just stopped paying the bill and the new adults don't have the same access. Remember the statement on the bottle that says don't stop taking without consulting with your physician. Prison becomes the new home where life is regulated. Prison gives you a place to sleep, eat, exercise, and receive medication. In an effort to protect inmate civil liberties, the ACLU has forced government to be a lifelong daycare for adults. Mental health is not the way to reducing recidivism. Inmates are not intitled to more opportunities than those of us outside the fence. Punishment is not a luxury. They are in prison because they have been deemed a threat to society.
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operaman's Opinion
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08/25/2016
While I may lean towards this Mental Health issue in a favorable light, I personally believe it should be a states issue and still can't fine Mental Health, Physical Health or even a general healthcare in any founding documents. Only liberals can read these Constitutional requirements using their special "rose colored lenses." However, reality is to face the fact that 90%+ of our Prisons contain flawed individuals who view our general population as "easy pickings" for their criminal personal gain. You have what they want so they take it. No morals or ethics except what is instilled by steel bars and concrete walls. It is true that these "convicts" may benefit from mental health therapy, that leaves the 10% of our population who sleep on our streets or under highway overpasses begging in our cities for beer, food and cigarettes while pushing around shopping baskets dragging their big dog. These street people need a place to live and withdraw from drugs addition. But a place where they can feel secure and receive mental health aid and conversely, we the public can also feel safe knowing that psychopaths, sociopaths and schizophrenics are secure from doing harm to the public or themselves. Mental Health Institutions were part of our past, but through various lawsuits, these helpless individuals were "released" on to the streets to live on the streets. So much for progressivism.
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    The incarceration system is a basic function of the government. Putting people in time out doesn't help them, doesn't rehabilitate them, and won't make them contribute to society when they are released. Mental health services and counseling can help along that path. This absolutely needs to happen, along with many other things.
    Like (69)
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    The money that would go towards this should go instead as a preventative way of helping veterans and others who need the mental health care who aren't in prison, that way it might help prevent the individual from ending up in prison.
    Like (14)
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    The argument that law abiding citizens should have better healthcare than convicted criminals is silly. These are not binary choices. We can have both and I hope this is a first step. Mental healthcare should be a fundamental right in the USA in the 21st century least of all because the results should elevate all of us. One would expect improved mental health to reduce crime, increase employment, increase social engagement, and overall happiness.
    Like (37)
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    I'm a psychotherapist and regularly volunteer in a prison where we practice meditation together. Two weeks ago we had a six hour retreat in the facility. Not every inmate takes advantage of these programs, but it's essential to offer more avenues to improve mental health and overall well-being if we are sincerely trying to rehabilitate people.
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    If someone has a mental illness that should be addressed. If an inmate has untreated Bipolar Disorder, that could be causing them, and other inmates, serious problems.
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    I understand a lot of people are saying veterans first and all that stuff, but I want to say that we are all right here. Ideally, EVERYONE should have mental health resources and services: veterans, criminals, and the general public alike. A lot of studies have been done to find that criminals often become criminals because of their predisposition in socioeconomic status, trauma, and/ or mental illness (whether it onset naturally or was caused by social factors such as bullying). A good deal of criminals are also on drug-related charges, meaning mental health services (which should be done jointly with substance use services) could not only clean up those particular criminals, but also prevent them from going back. I understand the veterans part, I really do, and I agree they need a heck of an increase in mental health funding. However, mental health funding is bad in general, and needs to be increased across the board.
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    The con argument sounds as though breaking the law meant you ceased to be human with health care needs. As someone who lives in the South where we have used a similar argument as the justification for lynching African-Americans since the beginning of time, I can only respond HELL NO! Committing a crime doesn't mean you lose your right to survive prison. I suspect that the Trump/Putin gulag approach is arguably anti-American. We use similar justification to allow children to go hungry in the world's richest country because, if parents need food stamps, the 5 year old is certainly subhuman & doesn't deserve to eat. This is the Tea Party argument, Ron DeSantis & Marco Rubio. SHAME ON YOU!!
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    Though of course we should look at and improve mental healthcare long before someone is imprisoned, rehabilitation in our corrective systems is a good way to work towards stopping repeat offenders and breaking the circle.
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    This is a tough choice. I indicate nay because its throwing money at a symptom of American society. The medical profession continues to come up with new mental health issues, when it truly comes down to only a few social issues. a) Parental abandonment; weather the parent died, was addicted to some form of drug or alchohol, inprisoned, or had to work multiple jobs to provide for the family. b) Saturation of mind controlling medication; this bill mentions inmates with mental illness. Society has a mental illness that is addressed by getting children addicted to medication that controls different facets of the mind. Then when they turn 18 the meds become more difficult to come by. Insurance just stopped paying the bill and the new adults don't have the same access. Remember the statement on the bottle that says don't stop taking without consulting with your physician. Prison becomes the new home where life is regulated. Prison gives you a place to sleep, eat, exercise, and receive medication. In an effort to protect inmate civil liberties, the ACLU has forced government to be a lifelong daycare for adults. Mental health is not the way to reducing recidivism. Inmates are not intitled to more opportunities than those of us outside the fence. Punishment is not a luxury. They are in prison because they have been deemed a threat to society.
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    Endings stigma and the largely ignored issue of ableism as well as mitigating the effects of mass incarceration are tantamount to the American ideal of equality.
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    The concerns that inmates would be able to get services "better than" the average civilian are extremely misguided: many inmates find themselves in the system because of all the various points in the system that they have been failed by society. The burden is left to society to lift up those who cannot lift up themselves. Addressing mental health in the penitentiary would lead toward a society that sees incarceration as rehabilitation rather than punishment. We cannot ignore the problems that led to incarceration in the first place and act surprised and as if it's a moral failing when recidivism rates are higher than other countries when compared to the same criminal offenses.
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    While I may lean towards this Mental Health issue in a favorable light, I personally believe it should be a states issue and still can't fine Mental Health, Physical Health or even a general healthcare in any founding documents. Only liberals can read these Constitutional requirements using their special "rose colored lenses." However, reality is to face the fact that 90%+ of our Prisons contain flawed individuals who view our general population as "easy pickings" for their criminal personal gain. You have what they want so they take it. No morals or ethics except what is instilled by steel bars and concrete walls. It is true that these "convicts" may benefit from mental health therapy, that leaves the 10% of our population who sleep on our streets or under highway overpasses begging in our cities for beer, food and cigarettes while pushing around shopping baskets dragging their big dog. These street people need a place to live and withdraw from drugs addition. But a place where they can feel secure and receive mental health aid and conversely, we the public can also feel safe knowing that psychopaths, sociopaths and schizophrenics are secure from doing harm to the public or themselves. Mental Health Institutions were part of our past, but through various lawsuits, these helpless individuals were "released" on to the streets to live on the streets. So much for progressivism.
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    Mental illnesses are some of the most overlooked, underfunded issues in this country. Treatment isn't given, victims shamed and improperly diagnosed. Prison inmates with mental illnesses still deserve the chance to cope and deal with the illness that plagues them. This bill should be passed to help support inmates now, so that when they are released they can rejoin society and once again contribute to their communities once again.
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    I understand wanting to restrict rights of prisoners, but prisoners are people. Why must we restrict the right to be cared for and treated as an equal person of society? Suffering from mental illness provides a sort of sentencing in itself, should we really vote adding to that by restricting resources made to care for one's well being? There are other ways to punish-- this should not count as one of them. Period.
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    This is a no-brainer to me. Rehabilitation involves the healing of mind body and spirit and not just confinement in a warehouse. We need to better equip inmates to heal themselves so that they are more equipped to deal with life on the outside.
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    I think providing mental healthcare to our veterans and folks not behind bars is a priority. If the prison doc thinks they need mental healthcare, give them a pill and provide basic care. We don't need a bunch of feel good programs in prisons. The prisons need to focus on cleaning the places up of drugs and figuring out a way to control them. Maybe cutting out cable TV could save money???
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    Being a former prison inmate myself, I can speak firsthand to the atrocities that you face while under the "guidance" of our penal systems. Unfortunately, most have no clue as to the actualities of prison in our country. It is easy to be quick to jump to conclusions when you believe you are informed, but are only perceiving a false reality of movies, television, and other propaganda.
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    What is the penal justice system if it cannot rehabilitate and help individuals to become productive members of society.
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    The de-institionism of America's mental health hospitals helped to create this issue, in addition to mental illness not being treated as another type of disease like medical illness. There is a stereotype of mental illness that makes the population think that it is something that is voluntarily controlled or self inflicted . It is neither. Just like diabetes or hypertension, these individuals need help. It does not go away, and eventually affects the entire community. And sometimes they purchase weapons and use them unwisely.
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    Regular taxpaying citizens do not have Governmental Heath help in paying for Mentsl health conditions. People who have broken the law have absolutely no "right" to better treatment than taxpaying citizens.
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