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  • Enforced Medication in Jails and Prisons: The New Asylums

    For those who are severely psychotic and refusing antipsychotic medication, it is proposed, and in some correctional systems practiced, to administer enforced medication in non- medical correctional facilities (NMCF), thereby obviating the need for hospitalization. This would provide those most severely disturbed inmates with the antipsychotic medicine that they need but deprive them of the level and quality of mental health services that is afforded to non-incarcerated individuals with the same mental conditions. Enforced medication in jails and prisons ensures these facilities will devolve into society’s “new asylums[.]” This article notes that even the “Joint Report” recently published by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriff’s Center promotes enforced medication without hospitalization, in effect contributing to the devolution of jails and prisons into the “new asylums[,]” and providing an excusing and convenient alternative to the continuing withdrawal of appropriate mental health services for those with the greatest need. The remedy proposed here for this harmful trend is to ensure that individuals in need of enforced medication will have this service provided in the appropriate place, i.e., in a mental hospital.