In this project students will learn about the legal and forensic issues of insanity and competency by exploring the care and treatment of the mentally ill offender. Students will have the opportunity to interview and collect information on mentally ill offenders from various institutions including several departments of corrections, jails and outpatient community corrections sites. Ultimately, students will complete more than 20 interviews within the study sample. Because of the increasing numbers of mentally ill sentenced and treated within the criminal justice system, understanding the relationship between mental illness and the criminal justice system is the focus of this project.
This method of research in this project is qualitative, drawing on the practice within anthropology of ethnographic studies. Students will have the opportunity to do preliminary literature research in order to examine the current social and political realities of the relationship between the criminal justice system and mental illness. A paper, as described in the "ethics/humanities" domain, will be required at the end of research.