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Mentally Impaired Offenders Research Topics

Mentally Impaired Offenders


For all topics:
Identify your sources

Do NOT copy word for word unless you put quotes around it and cite the source.

Use good grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Interviews of persons who have knowledge of the topic are acceptable sources.  Examples of persons you might interview include: law enforcement officers, detention

officers, criminal lawyers (prosecution and defense),  Judges,  probation officers,  psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health counselors,  persons suffering from mental  illness or their family and friends.

Do not rely on Wikipedia except as a starting point for further research.

Homelessness and Mental Illness.  How does mental illness contribute to homelessness?  What mental health treatment is available to homeless persons?  How  do the homeless mentally ill become involved in the criminal justice system?   Crossroads Mission might be a resource for this topic.

 Juvenile Offenders who are mentally ill.   What kinds of mental illness are usually found in juvenile offenders? What treatment is available?

 Drug addiction and mental illness.  Can mental illness lead to drug abuse?  If so, what types of mental illness, types of drugs and how does this occur?   Can drug abuse cause mental illness?  If so, what types of drugs, types of abuse,  types of mental illness?

 Law Enforcement techniques for handling mentally ill persons.  How should a peace officer approach a mentally ill person who is acting violent?   What should a peace officer do when dealing with a suicidal person?  Problems of false confessions.

 Domestic Violence and Mental Illness.    Can mental illness cause a person to commit domestic violence?  If so, what types of domestic violence and what types of mental illness.  What treatment is available for mentally ill persons who have committed domestic violence?  Is this treatment successful?

 Guilty Except Insane:   what happens to the defendant after the verdict?  Is the defendant always incarcerated?  If so, where?   For how long?   Under what circumstances may the defendant be released?

 Restoration of Competency:   How is a mentally incompetent criminal criminal defendant restored to competency?   Drugs? Therapy?  Other?

 Suicide Watch:  What happens to a person who is a suicide risk when they are in jail?  In prison?  Are there better ways for the jail or prison to deal with this?  Is mental health treatment provided to suicidal persons while they are incarcerated?  If so, what treatment?   Do not rely on Mr. Earley’s book.    Find out how these persons are handled at our county jail and in our Arizona prisons.   This may require some interviews.

 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:  What is it?  What are symptoms?  How does it contribute to criminal behavior?  What treatment is given to offenders with PTSD, if any?

 Mental Health Treatment in Prison:   What treatment is given to mentally ill persons incarcerated in prison?   In Yuma, Arizona?   In other prison facilities throughout Arizona?   In other States?  In the federal prison system?

 Mentally Ill prisoners in Yuma County Adult Detention Center:  How are these prisoners identified as mentally ill?  How is a treatment plan developed?  What treatment are they given?  How is a Release Plan developed?   Give examples of Release Plans.  Why is a Release Plan important?

 Sex crimes and mental illness.     What happens to a mentally ill sex offender in the jail?  In prison?   Can mental illness cause a person to commit a sex crime?  What types of mental illness and what types of sex crimes?  What treatment, if any, is available for a mentally ill sex offender?

 Mental Health Courts.  What are they?  How do they work?  Do we have any in Arizona?  (Contact or look up court systems in other counties and cities.  Contact the law schools in Arizona).   What steps do we take to start a Mental Health Court in Yuma County?   Attend and observe Yuma County’s Drug Court.  Interview Drug Court counselors and probation officers.  How could the Drug Court concept be adapted to create a Mental Health Court?

 Mental Health Treatment in Yuma County:  If you or a loved one has a serious mental illness, how do you get treatment here in Yuma County?  What kinds of treatment are available?  Are there any kinds of mental illness for which treatment is not available locally?  Who do you contact?  Where do you go?  How do you pay for it?     Insurance?  AHCCS?   What if you don’t have insurance and are not eligible for AHCCS?    Other options:  Employee Assistance Plan?   Victim Compensation Fund?

 Civil Court Ordered Treatment of Mental Illness:  What happens if someone is mentally ill and refuses to seek treatment?  In Yuma County?  In Arizona?  Nationwide?

Homicide and Mental Illness.   Choose a recent (within last five (5) years murder case that has been in the news wherein the accused was reported as being mentally impaired.  Describe the crime, the nature of the mental impairment and how this mental impairment caused or related to the crime.   Find out, if you can, whether the accused was ever provided mental health treatment.   If so, when?  Where?  What kind of treatment?  For how long?  Was it voluntary or court ordered treatment?   If no treatment was ever received, what are the reasons for the lack of treatment?

Law Enforcement Fatalities and Mentally Impaired Offenders.     Killings of law enforcement officers are on the rise even when violent crime is otherwise decreasing.  Examine some of these incidents.    Is there any relation between cutbacks or lack of resources for mental health treatment and killings of law enforcement officers?    If so, could better training of the law officers involved (as to how to handle a mentally impaired person) have prevented any of these fatalities?  (I do not know the answer to this question and would be interested in finding out.)

 Crisis Resources:   What resources are available here in Yuma County to handle a person in a mental health crisis.  Describe these in detail.  Is there a Crisis Team?  What agency or organization operates it?   Describe the Team and how it works.  How would you contact them if you had a crisis?   How do they work with law enforcement?  What are a law enforcement officer’s options in dealing with a person who is in a mental health crisis?


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