Psychiatric Annals

Mental Health Care in the Federal Bureau of Prisons 

Personal Reflections: Prison Psychiatry

Howard P Rome, MD

Abstract

Psychiatric Annals, in this issue, is pleased to present to its readers an overview of the mental health activities as highlighted in Federal Medical Center Butner and Federal Medical Center Rochester, prepared by Dr. Sally Johnson and her coliaborators. Crime and punishment have myriad and complex ramifications. The Editors of Psychiatric Annals, through the years, have addressed many facets of this social problem. Psychiatric concepts play a major role in delineating the behavioral manifestations of this ancient social problem. In testament of our concern, we culled our monthly issues from 1973 to 1977. They represented a panoramic view of the then-current thinking and prevailing policies of forensic psychiatry.

The social institution of the prison represents all similar efforts by organized society that are mandated to incarcerate those persons whom the agency of social justice has designated as social offenders. The legal process by which such judgments have been duly levied or addressed are incorporated in the bound volume of Psychiatric Annals titled "Psychiatrists and the Legal Process: Diagnosis and Debate" published with the cooperation of Medicine in the Public Interest in 1977. Admittedly, these 43 chapters represented only a primer in their attempt to survey the scope of the many dimensions of the ethico-social philosophy that is the foundation of the justice system.

The preservation of a social order requires explicit answers to the global questions: What is crime? What is punishment? The historical record bears witness to the change in prevailing attitudes and opinions as to what is proper at a particular time in a particular place. The conclusion is inescapable that the process and its institutions represent a confluence of etiologies. It is a representative composite of the public beliefs and values that are the raison d'etre of man's behavior at a particular time and according to unique circumstances. It is a dynamic picture of the goodness-of-fit of man's relationships to the entire socio-political ecosystem of which he is a part.

In this, we are given an overview of one aspect - the menial health component of the federal prison system. Contributors have chosen to focus on these two separate penal institutions as models, in the hope that they will be replicated throughout the bureau of prisons.

Mr. Justice Blackmun, in his comments on these contributions, points out the systemwide deficiencies that hamper the diffusion of these innovative collaborations. They are critical if the y et -to-be-realized beneficence of mental health practices is ever to be realistically incorporated in a truly corrective justice system.…

Psychiatric Annals, in this issue, is pleased to present to its readers an overview of the mental health activities as highlighted in Federal Medical Center Butner and Federal Medical Center Rochester, prepared by Dr. Sally Johnson and her coliaborators. Crime and punishment have myriad and complex ramifications. The Editors of Psychiatric Annals, through the years, have addressed many facets of this social problem. Psychiatric concepts play a major role in delineating the behavioral manifestations of this ancient social problem. In testament of our concern, we culled our monthly issues from 1973 to 1977. They represented a panoramic view of the then-current thinking and prevailing policies of forensic psychiatry.

The social institution of the prison represents all similar efforts by organized society that are mandated to incarcerate those persons whom the agency of social justice has designated as social offenders. The legal process by which such judgments have been duly levied or addressed are incorporated in the bound volume of Psychiatric Annals titled "Psychiatrists and the Legal Process: Diagnosis and Debate" published with the cooperation of Medicine in the Public Interest in 1977. Admittedly, these 43 chapters represented only a primer in their attempt to survey the scope of the many dimensions of the ethico-social philosophy that is the foundation of the justice system.

The preservation of a social order requires explicit answers to the global questions: What is crime? What is punishment? The historical record bears witness to the change in prevailing attitudes and opinions as to what is proper at a particular time in a particular place. The conclusion is inescapable that the process and its institutions represent a confluence of etiologies. It is a representative composite of the public beliefs and values that are the raison d'etre of man's behavior at a particular time and according to unique circumstances. It is a dynamic picture of the goodness-of-fit of man's relationships to the entire socio-political ecosystem of which he is a part.

In this, we are given an overview of one aspect - the menial health component of the federal prison system. Contributors have chosen to focus on these two separate penal institutions as models, in the hope that they will be replicated throughout the bureau of prisons.

Mr. Justice Blackmun, in his comments on these contributions, points out the systemwide deficiencies that hamper the diffusion of these innovative collaborations. They are critical if the y et -to-be-realized beneficence of mental health practices is ever to be realistically incorporated in a truly corrective justice system.

10.3928/0048-5713-19881201-04

Sign up to receive

Journal E-contents