Mentally ill individuals are being housed in prisons and jails throughout the country. Due to decreased funding and overpopulation of correctional facilities, individuals with pre-existing illnesses, as well as others who develop illnesses, are in severe need of mental health services and punished for their ailments through the use of solitary confinement, long prison sentences, and lack of care. The stress created by such conditions is amplified for mentally ill prisoners who are awaiting execution or the dismissal of their death row sentences. These individuals must show that they are competent to stand trial, exhibit the mental state required for the committal of the alleged crime, be subject to the death penalty, and finally, be executed. Without a showing of competency for each time-sensitive element, prolonged prison stays are in order for these mentally ill inmates. The speed of the justice system, combined with outlawed execution drugs, has left these prisoners aging and helpless as they await their untimely sentences, categorized by some as cruel and unusual punishment.

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2018

Publication Information

51 Texas Tech Law Review 147-167 (2018)