The female prison population in America has been at an all-time high owing to extensive law enforcement efforts and leading to more stringent drug sentencing laws. According to the 2015 report by "The Sentencing Project,” a research and advocacy center working for the effective U.S. criminal justice system, "between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated women increased by more than 700 percent, rising from a total of 26,378 in 1980 to 215,332 in 2014."
Female Prisoners Are Prone to Co-Existing Conditions
A mental disorder or an addiction to any substance is enough to debilitate a person. Imagine the person’s plight when he or she is suffering from both, and may not even be aware of it. Such a condition is known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.
Co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis is more common than people generally assume. According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 17.5 million Americans over the age of 18 have had serious mental health disorder in the past year, of which about 4 million people also struggled with a co-occurring drug or alcohol dependency.
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to make right decisions or to think coherently. Though not much is known about the condition, every patient afflicted with this disorder may not face the same problems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five American adults (around 45.7 million) suffers from some kind of mental illness and around 36 percent of them indulge in smoking.