I'd personally say that they have to be treated first because considering the fact that they're mentally ill, the atmosphere of prison could very well depress them and lead them to have suicidal thoughts; or, they could get really angry and unleash it on their fellow inmates. Maybe they shouldn't even be jailed at all. When thinking of it thoroughly, it isn't really their fault as they weren't fully conscious when they commited the crime. It's not like they intended to do it, their brains simply have chemicals that they cannot control, chemicals that affect their nerves and actions that they don't even know of.
A recent article in Gulfnews.com showed that some of the mentally ill people who have not commited a crime are placed in jail with the other inmates because, as prison officials believe, some of them should not be housed in medical facilities as some of them could be "dangerous".
Dr Tourky said the prison takes good care of the non-criminal mentally ill
patients who are jailed because there is not enough space for them in the
hospital. "They are not criminals. We take care of them. They are considered
high priority," he said.
For those deemed suicidal or dangerous, he said prison officials ensure there are no sharp objects or anything that can be turned into a weapon. "Anything they can use to harm themselves or others," said Dr Tourky. He said prison officials also screen inmates for infectious diseases.
In the article, it is stated that the jail houses a number of patients - some children - who have communicable diseases, and adults and children are all housed together. A mentally ill patient was found dead in a Sharjah jail some days back, and the police are investigating whether it's a murder (in which case I think that the mentally disturbed should definitely not be placed with inmates who are in their full conscious mind in order not to be taken advantage of) or whether it's a suicide (which simply proves my above point regarding the pressure that jail atmospheres serve the mentally ill).
The Ministry of Health may build a separate facility to house mentally ill
patients in the UAE, depending on need.
I think that a medical institute for mentally ill patients is desperately needed.
Dr Gamil Tourky, assistant director of the preventive medicine department at
Sharjah medical district, said building the facility depended on the magnitude
of the problem.
A mentally ill patient was found dead, children and adults alike with communicable diseases are housed under the same roof, and as if that's not enough, but psychiatrists themselves say that patients should not be housed with criminals.
The above says everything that there is to say about the Ministry of Health in the UAE. Let's hope to see changes in the facilities offered by the government, it's safe to say that many things should be undertaken regarding this issue.
Click here for the original Gulfnews article.
Breaking the Chains:
"What we call 'Progress' is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance."