Catherine P. California

A Call For Mental Health Reform

The United States needs to implement more rehabilitation services for inmates and individuals in the criminal justice system.

Dear Next President:

The criminal justice system is an example of an institution in the United States that does not recognize the impact that mental health might play on an individual’s actions. Many criminals are not criminals by choice, but are victims of poor mental health and their actions display their inability to think correctly. However, because of under funding of the justice system, law enforcement does not delve into one’s motives. They simply sentence them unfairly or send them to prison overlooking the “suspect’s” mental state. Prisons are already overcrowded.  According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, one in five inmates have a serious mental illness. I think that the United States should expand the number of rehabilitation programs offered to prisoners in order to help them better themselves and be a better member of society.

Society makes it unacceptable to be mentally challenged or for one to even have problems. When people have issues they often try to cover it up for fear of social stigmas  and the attitude that everybody has to be perfect. I think that people need to be more supportive of each other. Professions such as therapists and psychologists need to be more valued and respected because they are the advocates of a healthy mindset. When people have a more stable and positive outlook on life, they are able to accomplish more tasks efficiently and become a better member of society. These therapists and psychologists can work with prisoners and criminals, aiding in the bettering of their mental health.

It is important for the United States to take action and acknowledge that poor mental health is a serious issue affecting many of its citizens. Criminals need rehab programs in order to help them become able citizens rather than left to rot in a jail cell. The untreated should be treated.  The United States needs to expand the amount of health services offered to those with mental conditions, whether they are aware or even unaware that they have a mental health that needs to be addressed.


Catherine Pham 

The Preuss School UCSD

Block 1

AP English Lit & Comp students

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