Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

According to the
American Psychiatric Association, schizophrenia is a “chronic brain disorder that affects less than one percent of the U.S. population.” Schizophrenia has a number of signs and symptoms including the presence of delusions and hallucinations. With treatment, many of the symptoms can be successfully managed.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech
  • Lack of motivation
  • Paranoia
  • Exaggerated or distorted perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors
  • Confused and disordered thinking

Schizophrenia Among Jail and Prison Inmates

While the estimated number of people in the United States with schizophrenia is less than one percent, the number of inmates with the disorder is higher. As noted by Health Affairs, the American Psychiatric Association states that “between 2.3 and 3.9 percent of inmates in state prisons are estimated to have schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder.”

As a matter of fact, those with severe mental illness are 3x more likely to be in jail or prison as opposed to a mental health facility. Mental health disorders are extremely prevalent in America’s jails and prisons.

In order to combat this issue, California and other states have implemented mental health diversion programs for individuals charged with a crime who is also suffering from a diagnosable mental health disorder.

Not all mental health disorders qualify, however, a person with schizophrenia may be eligible depending on the circumstances of the case. It is important to discuss any criminal matters with a qualified defense attorney to determine if you are eligible for a diversion program.

Mental Health Diversion

One component of mental health diversion is that the person must be willing to undergo treatment. The court must also find that the underlying mental health disorder played a significant role in the commission of the charged offense. A number of crimes are precluded from mental health diversion.

Mental health diversion has countless benefits and can help someone address the underlying problem as opposed to just being punished for the offense.