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Mental Health and the Justice System: Exploring the intervention, challenges, and opportunities.

By: Oreoluwa Ladoja & Charles Sam

In today’s world, mental health matters. It is said that “your mental health is twice as important as your physical health” But when it comes to the justice system, things can get a bit tricky.

People with mental health issues sometimes find themselves faced with legal matters, facing challenges that can be tough to handle. Let’s take a closer look at what goes on and how we can make things better.

First, it’s important to understand that dealing with mental health in the justice system isn’t easy. Sometimes, people with mental health struggles might end up in trouble with the law. It could be because they acted out due to their condition, or maybe they didn’t get the right support they needed earlier.

When these situations happen, there are a lot of challenges that pop up. One big challenge is making sure these people get the help they need, instead of just getting punished. See, not everyone in the justice system knows how to deal with mental health stuff. Sometimes, they might not even realize that mental health plays a big role in what happened.

Then there’s the issue of fairness. It’s tough when someone with mental health issues is treated the same as someone without them. It just doesn’t work. People with mental health struggles might need different kinds of support and understanding to make things right.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are ways we can make the justice system better for people dealing with mental health challenges. One big way is by getting everyone on the same page. That means training for police officers, lawyers, judges you name it. If everyone knows more about mental health, they can better help those who need it.

Another thing we can do is provide more options for support. Instead of just punishment, we can offer things like counseling, therapy, or programs to help folks get back on track. It’s like giving them a helping hand instead of a hit on the wrist.

One of the foremost issues impacting individuals with mental health conditions within the justice system is the pervasive stigma surrounding mental illness.

This stigma not only influences public perceptions but also shapes the attitudes and behaviors of law enforcement officers, judges, and other justice system stakeholders. As a result, individuals with mental health conditions are frequently misunderstood, marginalized, and unfairly treated within the criminal justice system to address mental health issues, reform efforts should prioritize diversion programs and community-based mental health support to redirect individuals away from the justice system and towards appropriate care.

Moreover, investing in mental health education and training for justice system stakeholders can foster greater understanding and empathy towards those with mental health conditions. Shifting the focus from punitive measures to rehabilitative approaches is essential to create a system that promotes healing and justice for all individuals, regardless of their mental health status.

And let’s not forget about prevention. By identifying mental health issues early on and giving people the support they need, we can stop problems from getting worse down the road. It’s kind of like fixing a leaky faucet before it floods the whole house. A little bit of effort now can save a whole lot of trouble later.

So yes, mental health and the justice system are tricky business. But with some understanding, support, and a whole lot of heart, we can make things better for everyone involved. After all, we’re all just trying to find our way in this crazy world let’s make sure nobody gets left behind.

Oreoluwa Ladoja is a dedicated professional with a diverse educational background spanning across International Law, Diplomacy, and Criminal Justice. Currently, Oreoluwa is actively engaged in her doctoral studies, pursuing a Ph.D. in Administration of Justice at Texas Southern University, where she also serves as a Graduate Assistant at the School of Public Affairs. With a solid foundation in academia, she has completed her studies with practical experience as a correctional officer at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice where she had direct impeccable experience working with inmates and prison wardens with a deep understanding of the American criminal justice system. Outside of her academic and professional career, she has a deep commitment to social causes as evidenced by her ownership of a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting less privileged children in Nigeria and her volunteering work with organizations such as The Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform and Just Initiative. She advocates for the United Nations Association of the United States, focusing on education, peace, law, and security (SDG16). Oreoluwa is a member of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, Pure Justice, American Association of Criminal Justice, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and Zonta International. She is proficient in English, and Yoruba, and has foundational knowledge of French, reflecting her dedication to effective communication and cross-cultural understanding.

Introducing Sam Charles Aboagye, an accomplished author renowned for his unique fusion of legal expertise and a fervent enthusiasm for technology. Originally hailing from Ghana, Sam currently immerses himself in the pursuit of a law degree in the United States of America, complemented by a minor in computer science.

Sam’s literary odyssey boasts the publication of 19 remarkable books, with two of his creations attaining the esteemed status of bestsellers. This remarkable feat underscores Sam’s exceptional ability to weave captivating narratives that resonate deeply with a diverse audience.

In addition to his academic and literary endeavors, Sam actively contributes to global initiatives as a distinguished member of the United Nations Association. Furthermore, his impact extends to the business realm, where he holds membership in the prestigious Forbes Black (BLK) community.

As Sam continues to tread the path of academic excellence and literary innovation, readers can anticipate an array of enthralling works that draw from his multifaceted background. Through his writings, Sam Charles Aboagye offers a profound exploration of legal intricacies and the dynamic realm of technology, showcasing the enriching synergy between disparate fields of study. Sam stands as a beacon of inspiration, exemplifying the transformative power of interdisciplinary expertise in shaping thought-provoking literature.

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