Civil Commitment and the Mentally Ill

Common psychological treatment options for incarcerated offenders

The common psychological treatment options for the mentally ill persons that have been advocated among nurses and physiologists include the outpatient civil commitment and assertive community treatment methods (Greene & Heilbrun, 2013). Testa and West (2010) use a drug court model to propose the use of psychoactive medicine for the treatment of patients with the prevalence of delirium. According to Testa and West (2010), the evidence based methods function on carefully managed community healthcare systems that are modelled to provide support for the sick through proactive and intensive monitoring of the patient. Treatment is made effective when the psychologist establishes the right balance between physiological and legal issues that emerge when treating mentally ill offenders (Testa & West, 2010). The process requires the inclusion of multidisciplinary teams that make professional contributions to the psychiatric process.

Researchers have proposed the administration psychotropic medication to treat mentally ill patients. Other methods include following policy guidelines that have been recommended by psychologists and legal experts, creating a database to store patient data, developing a strong structure to supervise patients, and integrating legal and mental health systems together.

Roadblocks to providing this treatment

Nurses and those responsible for providing psychological treatment for mentally ill offenders encounter several roadblocks, which include a harsh, dehumanizing, and depersonalising environment for the offenders. Harsh environments include the prison, being homeless due to rejection by the community, and social stigma for offenders (Greene & Heilbrun, 2013). It is widely acknowledged that some prison goals are in direct conflict with the prison culture because of issues that emanate from the violent behaviour of individuals when assessed against the criminal justice system. For instance, gender affects the approach used to treat male and female offenders because they differ significantly in physiological and behavioural responses. Other issues include the history of the patient such as lack of proper healthcare services, barriers to effective community integration, the high cost of caring for the patients, and personal financial problems.

Reasons for choosing the sources

I chose the book (Wrightsman’s Psychology and the Legal System) because it is widely used to provide the professional link between psychology and the legal system and the various elements that courts must consider when making competent verdicts for committing to prison or sentencing mentally ill people while ensuring that their rights are upheld. The article, Civil commitment in the United States provides evidence of legal practice and psychology in the context of evaluating criminals and the type of punishment for mentally ill people.

I evaluated the credibility of the authors based on their expertise in the field of psychology and legal systems. Another approach was on the basis of the fact that the authors have written several articles and books on the same discipline, which have been reviewed by other professionals in the same discipline. I used the publishing firms as the evaluation criteria based on other well-known publications in the same field. The sources were deemed to be credible because they provide empirical evidence of research results from other sources that have been widely used in the field of law and psychology. The evidence of the elements that made the sources credible includes the presence of:

  • The authors-Names are included, credential can be proved, and relevance is evident.
  • The publishers-The publishers provide scholarly materials
  • Audience-Uses the right language (that is used in the legal systems and in psychology) to write the materials to communicate information to the target audience
  • Content-Provides properly cited materials and empirical evidence based on case studies, which is a practice in law.
  • Timeliness-The dates the sources were published can be proved for Greene and Heilbrun (2013), Wales et al. (2010), and Testa and West (2010).


Greene, E., & Heilbrun, K. (2013). Wrightsman’s psychology and the legal system. Boston, USA: Cengage Learning.

Testa, M., & West, S. G. (2010). Civil commitment in the United States. Psychiatry, 7(10), 30.

Wales, H. W., Hiday, V. A., & Ray, B. (2010). Procedural justice and the mental health court judge’s role in reducing recidivism. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 33(4), 265-271.

Find out your order's cost