PLAGIARISM FREE “A” PLUS WORK For this final capstone project, you will combine the case studies from Units II, IV, and VI (ATTACHED) implementing any faculty feedback, into one final project. In addition, you should add an abstract that briefly summarizes your paper and includes major findings that you discovered as a part of your analysis and a summary of your conclusions or applications. The final project must be at least 15 pages in length, not counting the title page (one page), abstract (one page), and references page (one or more pages). Additionally, the paper should be formatted according to APA guidelines to include a running head, page numbers, headings, and subheadings. As a reminder, the individual components of each case study, if needed, can be found in the assignment instructions for that unit. SPECIALIZED AND LEGAL COUNSEL 1
SPECIALIZED AND LEGAL COUNSEL 2
CRIMINAL JUSTICE THEORY
An examination of the criminal justice system’s failures in dealing with mentally ill
offenders is presented in this article, “The effectiveness of specialized legal counsel and case
management services for indigent offenders with mental illness,” written by Bouffard &
Armstrong (2016). The authors have also illustrated that “Legal and case management services
for mentally ill offenders” are also touted as more effective ways of helping in managing them
(Bouffard & Armstrong (2016).
According to the article’s statistics, there are many mentally ill criminals in the criminal
justice system. Among other things, the authors raise the issue of the disproportionate number of
mentally ill criminals in the United States. “Mentally ill offenders make up anywhere from 14 to
16 percent of local prison inmates to as much as 60 percent of the total prison population”
(Bouffard & Armstrong 2016). As a result, this is a clear illustration that the criminal justice
system must pay particular attention to how offenders are overseen. The response of various
jurisdictions to mentally ill offenders is one of the system’s flaws, as the article points out.
Mentally ill offenders in some jurisdictions are diverted to specialized diversion
programs. A portion of the resources available to correctional facilities in jurisdictions where
diversion programs have not been established has to be used for the identification and treatment
of mental illness. By eliminating or decreasing incarceration for mentally ill offenders and
improving the care, they receive while in prison, policymakers and other key stakeholders have
found that these challenges can best be addressed and help address this problem of the mentally
ill inmates. (Bouffard & Armstrong, 2016).
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According to the authors, reducing recidivism can be achieved by using mental health
courts and special probation units. Mental health offenders have benefited from these courts
because they emphasize alternatives to incarceration such as community-based treatment and
strictly supervised probation to better the lives of offenders. It also discusses one of the biggest
challenges faced by those with mental illness, which is the lack of affordable legal representation
(Bouffard & Armstrong, 2016).
Most mentally ill offenders are unable to pay for legal representation. Even though legal
representation is always provided, the quality and service models are questionable and
inconsistent. To protect the rights of mentally ill people, court-based programs must be
established. IDC programs for mentally ill offenders are recommended, according to the article’s
Programs such as this one ensures that mental illness offenders will be represented by
attorneys who have been trained to do so. To effectively manage mentally ill offenders, the
program also includes improved case management. Inmates with mental health issues would
benefit from this type of program, which would also reduce the cost of caring for them in prison.
“An IDC program would be a viable alternative in places where mental health courts cannot be
established” (Bouffard & Armstrong 2016).
All the article’s evidence-based arguments and conclusions can be agreed upon. To begin,
the authors convincingly argue that mentally ill offenders face an unfair disadvantage in the
criminal justice system, which is supported by ample evidence. Offenders who are mentally sick
require a different approach. Prisons’ limited resources simply cannot afford to pay for this extra
level of care. A solid foundation has been laid for the case for alternative measures by this
SPECIALIZED AND LEGAL COUNSEL 4
article’s examination of the difficulties people face while incarcerated. Jails could save money if
there were other ways to deal with mentally ill offenders (Skeem & Manchak, 2018).
This is a valid argument because the cost of treating mentally ill inmates daily with
psychiatric medications would significantly increase. Additionally, the facility would have to
hire staff that is trained to deal with the special needs of patients who are mentally unstable. As a
result, these institutions would be forced to use up all their available funding sources, making the
matter even worse.
Mental health courts and specialized probation units (SPU) have also been discussed in
the article, which aims to reduce the number of repeat offenders by the mentally ill. According to
the authors, choosing a substitute to imprisonment helps the psychologically sick offenders
reintegrate into society as better individuals. This is a valid point of view. However, it is
essential to keep in mind that not everyone with a mental illness will respond well to this
strategy. Violent behavior is more common in some forms of mental illness than in others
(Skeem & Manchak, 2018).
A mental health professional would have to determine that the offender is fit to return to
society before he or she could be placed on probation. However, there are exceptions to this rule
for offenders whose behavior is less violent and who do not put the public at risk. To support
their overall argument that specialized services can reduce or eliminate incarceration, the authors
have emphasized the importance of mental health courts and SPU programs.
Finally, the article focuses on how mentally ill offenders can afford to hire a lawyer. This
is an essential factor to keep in mind when dealing with mentally ill offenders, as most of them
cannot afford legal representation. The article goes on to say that the best way to help financially
unstable and mentally ill criminals is to have an IDC program in place to help address this issue.
SPECIALIZED AND LEGAL COUNSEL 5
Using data from an IDC program, the article argues that incarceration for mentally ill
offenders is unnecessary and restrictive. Because this program includes lawyers with training on
how to represent offenders who are mentally ill, it is a more appropriate choice than the current
option. “Despite the fact that an IDC program can replace a fully established mental health court,
it does not guarantee reduced recidivism because it does not include mandatory treatment,
enhanced supervision, or court interactions” (Bouffard & Armstrong (2016).
APPLICATION AND POSSIBLE IMPACTS
This article is especially important because it illustrates the importance of mental health
courts and SPU programs for the mentally ill offenders. According to Sakai (2018),
Policymakers must be involved in the adoption and implementation of an IDC program for
mentally ill offenders in any authority. The first step in the policymaking process will be to
determine if these programs are needed in the authority.
For this purpose, extensive research like that presented in the article is sufficient
evidence. Program quality and cost are essential factors to consider when formulating policy. As
a result of their involvement in these programs, the lawyers and other professionals involved
would require specialized training and compensation (Skeem & Manchak, 2018).
Because of this, funding must be considered when deciding how to proceed. In addition,
the program’s value and effectiveness are essential considerations in the policymaking process.
As a result, this would necessitate extensive, long-term research. An IDC program for the
mentally ill will not be without its difficulties, and it is essential to remember this. For example,
current indigent defense systems face many of these same issues today. This includes, but is not
limited to, a lack of adequate resources, ineffective representation due to occasional case
overload, and a lack of qualified professionals in the program (Skeem & Manchak, 2018). Even
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though there will be difficulties, this does not diminish the importance of these programs.
Mentally ill offenders would be guaranteed representation if an IDC program were in place.
As part of the program, incarceration would only be considered in cases where probation
or case management services would not work (Bouffard & Armstrong, 2016). Programs like this
one are designed to provide mentally ill offenders with the best chance to become better citizens.
For people with mental illness, legal and case management services must be tailored to
their unique circumstances. According to the research methodology and conclusions of this
article, community-based IDC programs may be more effective than traditional court systems in
managing mentally ill offenders.
Policymakers and reformers may find this information useful in their efforts. Special IDC
programs can be highly beneficial for mentally ill people who find themselves in trouble with the
law. Still, they are susceptible to problems that affect current indigent defense systems. Legal
and case management services for the mentally ill should be considered (Bouffard & Armstrong,
SPECIALIZED AND LEGAL COUNSEL 7
Bouffard, J. & Armstrong, G. S. (2016). The effectiveness of specialized legal counsel and case
management services for indigent offenders with mental illness. Health & justice, 4(1), 1-
Sakai, R. K. (2018). Care for Inmates with Mental Illness: What Can Nurses Do? retrieved from:
Care for Inmates with Mental Illness: What Can Nurses Do? (spu.edu)
Skeem, J. L. & Manchak, S. M. (2018). Comparing costs of traditional and specialty probation
for people with serious mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 69(8), 896-902. retrieved
from: Comparing Costs of Traditional and Specialty Probation for People with Serious
Mental Illness | Psychiatric Services (psychiatryonline.org)