Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why are so many mentally disabled people on death row?

The relationship between the death penalty and mental illness has always been a controversial topic. In 1989 with the Supreme court case in Penry v. Lynaugh it was ruled that it was constitutional to execute a mentally ill person who committed a capital crime. Eventually in 1994, Congress passed the Federal Death Penalty Act which included the ill being free from being under death row. Overall, the execution of the mentally ill is illegal but there is still a number of the mentally ill that are executed or not given the proper treatment while imprisoned. 

First, the mentally ill need to treated fairly and given the proper treatment. We cannot just judge them as a regular citizen with no consideration. If they are put under pressure and being interrogated with no consideration, they are more likely to be put on death row without a proper procedure. Society has such a negative view of the mentally ill and there is a lot of stigma around mental health. Society has a fear of the mentally ill when having to do with capital offenses. There are some cases where capital offenders commit crimes and they suffer from a mental illness. However, this is definitely not all cases concerning capital crimes. People have a fear for these kind of cases with mental illness and crimes and are quick to make decisions in court. 

Even though capital punishment is illegal against the mentally ill, there are still many mental health professionals who say that there are still many prisoners who aren't getting proper treatment for their illnesses. We need to understand that the mentally ill are unable to fully understand their actions in some cases and the consequences. We need the role of mental health professionals to help distinguish the mentally ill and help treat those in need. We need to be just and give fair treatment to the mentally disabled.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Nickel and Dimed: What does it mean to be poor?

The literary definition of the word poor that you would find in a dictionary is not having enough money to support yourself and not living in the normal conditions of society. Ehrenreich's own experiences changes her views on what it means to be poor. She says that we all assume that living in poverty is somewhat fine and you can get by if you work hard enough. But, living in poverty through her own experiences, she explains how this is not even a lifestyle anyone can live by or go through. "They are, by almost any standard of subsistence, emergency situations. And that is how we should see the poverty of so many millions of low-wage Americans--as a state of emergency"(214). This statement that the author makes is actually so true. We always assume that people who live on minimum wage have a lifestyle that is enough to support themselves and that the conditions are bearable. However in reality, this is not the case. People who live on minimum wage, live paycheck to paycheck. They can barely get enough food for a day and they don't have enough to get necessities like health insurance and in difficult situations. There will always come a time of hardship whether it is in sickness, accidents or more. A person living on minimum wage can't even afford to have these situations that will always come up in life. Also, one can only work for so long and later on, working in labor can become unbearable. I've realized that living on minimum wage is really not enough for a person to live on. Living in these types of conditions really is an emergency situation. This really isn't okay and there needs to changes to make the gap between the working class and the upper class to become smaller.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Nickel and Dimed:Effects of Poverty

There are many hardships that come with living in poverty. Of course there is the matter with living in harsh physical conditions, but there is also the matter of facing this difficult society. In Nickel and Dimed, the author, Barbara Ehrenreich, experiences the hardships in society when working as a maid. From her experiences and people that she meets, she learns that maids are looked down upon. Owners are often hostile and unwelcoming towards maids. "Maids as an occupational group, are not visible, and when we are seen we are often sorry for it"(99). People usually look past the poor and in this case, maids. The people in this society who are in living in poverty, are definitely looked down upon, sometimes with no sympathy. They struggle having dignity and having to endure the harshness of this society. They seem to not be treated with the rights that all citizens in this country have. Often, it seems the poor is limited to certain rights. The people who work poor in the US don't have a huge voice or say in anything. The people in the lower class, must endure the hostility of this society in order to get by this life and survive. People who are in the higher class are obviously always treated well. When it comes to the lower class, they are never treated well and sometimes not seemed to be cared for.