The Correlation of the Sedation of Inmates by Institutional Facilities and to Increased Mental Health Disorders in the Community Michael Guido Pierangelino

Original Guidance Foundation Report


Presented by: Michael Guido Pierangelino

January 21, 2015


Original Guidance Foundation FA

The Institutional Sedation of Inmates by Facilities and the Correlation to Increased Mental Health Disorders in the Community   


There are certain aspects of institutions that one sees their relevance to protect the masses from those who would cause harm to others.  Looking at the overall statistics of correctional institutions, it seems the prison system has become the dumping ground for psychiatric patients, made to fend for themselves, attempting functionality in day to day life.  The amount of medical and psychiatric care provided by the correctional system in the United States is staggering.  At what point does circumstance allow those who cannot defend themselves to be taken down the winding road twisted deceit, just to create a warehousing system of sedated zombies that follow the yellow line.  Psychiatric medication in correctional institutions is harmful to inmates, and non-conducive to the treatment of behavioral disorders; in addition prevalent misdiagnosis and improper medication management causes misuse, abuse, and mental disorders.

The downsizing of inpatient treatment facilities and deinstitutionalization of individuals over the last 50 years caused many people with persistent mental illness to be imprisoned.  Paired with the overcrowding issues cause by harsh penal system, psychotropic medication was the simple solution to pressing more bodies into tighter spaces, and spending next to nothing on programs that facilitate and actual care.  When one becomes a part of this system, typically their spirits are ground down till there is nothing left.  Psychiatric medication is often harmful and non-conducive to treatment of behavioral disorders.  Therefore much of what is spent on the billions of dollars going to healthcare for inmates is not beneficial at all.

Misdiagnosis leads to inmates receiving medications which create mental disorders.  This makes it problematic to discern the unstable for the stable. It is important to note that frequent misadministration and diagnosis happens daily.  This is not only irresponsible but unbelievable.  There is much dispute weather guards should administer medications, and that does not seem to be proper procedure since guards are not mandated to take medical hours necessary to understand the importance of medication management.

There is a position that feels that the mental disabilities are preexisting form incarceration. “The statistics point out that the higher rates of dysfunction and behavior and subsequent management challenges associated with persons having a mental illness in the community follow them into prison settings” (Olley et al., 2009). As a whole this has truth to it, however there is a great amount of skepticism towards the distribution of numerous psychiatric medications to inmates who have no need nor original desire to take such medicines.  This can create more problems than meant to solve since the subject taking said medications is altering their brain chemistry.  This in turn affect the family and friends of the individual as they may even be unaware that their loved one was receiving high doses of sedating medications that affect brain function.  This is a sensitive area since most people wish to just shun the incarcerated and pretend they don’t exist.  The only way to change the situation is proper management and policing of facilities.

Poor medication management by staff allows for misuse and abuse by the inmates. The role of staff is to oversee the administration of medication; however that is not such an easy task. There is an entire black market for medications in institutional communities.  Medications are sold by those not actually in need after feigning or malingering in order to get meds to sell. Medications are abused by those seeking an altered state of mind, which creates a constant flow of interested parties. The fact remains those who want help get help and those who do not, will not change.  The hope to overcome this hurdle is with education and proper guidance.  Stop spending money on medications and start educating and motivating.


Psychiatric drugs are thought by most to calm inmates down and make it easier to manage their safety, but that is a common misnomer:  This way of thinking is out of date, modern psychology and science have trumped.   In cases of women who were highly sedated during imprisonment they were less likely to succeed at or participate in activities as much.  The idea chemical restraints was sold to the public as a Pharmacotherapy and spun as the “merging of the corrections and psychiatric communities”.  In Harper v. State, the supreme court of Washington ruled under the constitution of the United States of America, provides the protection to inmates have the right to refuse administered antipsychotic medication.  However, surprisingly enough there was an overturning of that ruling in Washington v. Harper where the court upheld the inmates but that the burden of proof placed on the State was too great.

Dosages over the maximum daily dosage is frowned upon by guidelines though some support it’s use in certain circumstance.  The irony to this is that those who are found to have multiple psychotropic medications are found to need high doses to be effective compared to monotherapy (Griffiths, Willis and Spark, 2012)

In conclusion Correctional facilities are growing to be one of the largest providers of mental health here in the US.  It is painstaking to consider the culmination of what seems to be the perfectly oiled political vehicle for corruption.  Until the people begin to learn how to police their own Government there is no telling what these correctional institutions will begin to do. Why not work towards developing greater ways to educate and decriminalize, rather than medicate and institutionalize?    At some point “We the People”, otherwise known as the masses, must stand and accept responsibility for this jaded system of madness.  It is a monster created by the ignorance of the average man or woman and the systems breeding fear into the hearts of the populous.  If society as a whole is painstaking in the evolution of our correctional procedures and methods; then it will be evident by results of actively building better world by building better people, promoting positive growth in all humankind.





  1. Jerry McKee, Joseph V. Penn, and Angela Koranek

Psychoactive Medication Misadventuring in Correctional Health Care

J Correct Health Care July 2014 20: 249-260, doi:10.1177/1078345814532419


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A systematic review of psychotropic drug prescribing for prisoners

Aust N Z J Psychiatry May 2012 46: 407-421, first published on January 3, 2012 doi:10.1177/0004867411433893


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