What are the problems of those with long-term mental illnesses? What happens when they get caught up in the criminal justice system? This course draws on materials from psychology, sociology, law, and criminal justice to answer these questions. It focuses first on the experience, diagnosis and treatment of serious illnesses such as schizophrenia and then at how criminal justice system responds to them. We pay special attention to how people move (and are moved) back and forth between jails and hospitals, prisons and psychiatric units, the community and social control institutions.
Typically, students read several first-hand accounts of mental illness, written by patients and those who care for them. We also read articles about the criminal justice system and the mentally ill, focusing on issues such as the insanity defense, police handling of the mentally ill, serial killers, and violent sexual offender legislation. Assignments include a short paper and two or three examinations.