Florida Prisons – Foreigners access to psychologists not possible
Access to mental health care and treatment is a critical need in any prison system. However, for many foreign-born prisoners and detainees, language can be a major barrier to receiving adequate mental health care. In some cases, there are no translators or interpreters available – leaving non-English speaking prisoners with little access to psychological services and treatments. In this blog post, we will explore the issue of foreigners access to psychologists in their own language in Florida prisons and how this lack of access is impacting the mental health of inmates from different backgrounds. We will look at how the use of language barriers limits access to psychologists and other mental health professionals, as well as potential solutions that could improve foreigners’ access to mental health services.
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is committed to providing all prisoners with access to psychologists in their own language. The FDC has established the following minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners but never respected their own regulations :
1. All prisoners shall be treated with dignity and respect.
2. All prisoners shall be provided with access to psychologists in their own language.
3. All prisoners shall be provided with access to mental health care services in their own language.
4. All prisoners shall be provided with access to education and vocational training in their own language.
5. All prisoners shall be provided with access to recreation and leisure activities in their own language.
The specific needs of foreign national prisoners
As the number of foreigners in Florida prisons increases, so does the demand for psychologists who can communicate with them in their native language.A recent study by the University of South Florida found that nearly one in four prisoners in the state are foreign-born. That population is expected to grow as the state’s immigrant population continues to increase.The majority of foreign-born prisoners are from Cuba, Haiti and Mexico. But there are also inmates from Central and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.Many of these prisoners have never been convicted of a crime in their home country and have little understanding of the American legal system. They also often suffer from trauma and mental health issues that stem from their experiences back home.That’s where psychologists like Dr. Luis Zayas come in. Zayas is a Cuban-American psychologist who works at the Dade County Jail, one of the largest jails in Florida. He provides counseling and therapy to inmates in both English and Spanish.“For many of these inmates, this is their first experience with incarceration,” Zayas said. “They’re away from their families, they don’t know anybody here, they don’t speak the language… so it’s very important for them to have someone they can talk to.”Zayas said he often sees foreign-born inmates who are struggling with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many of them have witnessed
Societal Re-entry of Prison Inmates With Mental Illness
Prison inmates with mental illness often face unique challenges when reentering society. They may have difficulty finding housing and employment, and may also experience discrimination and stigma. In addition, they may be at risk for relapse or recidivism if they do not receive adequate treatment for their mental illness.There are a number of programs and services available to help prison inmates with mental illness re-enter society successfully. These include transitional housing programs, job training and placement programs, and peer support groups. In addition, many states have special courts that are designed to help offenders with mental illness get the treatment they need and avoid returning to prison.If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there is help available. Contact your local mental health association or call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) for more information on resources in your area.
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