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Mental Health And Social Inequality Essay

1923 words - 8 pages

Mental Health and Social Inequality PAGE 1
Running Head: MENTAL HEALTH AND SOCIAL INEQUALITYMental Health and Social InequalityMental Health and Social InequalityThere is limited knowledge about relationships among social control mechanisms in at least two important areas. The first is the direction of these relationships. Some sociologists suggest that social controls imposed within society often lie in oppositional (i.e., inverse) relation with each other. Different forms of control may serve as substitutes for each other or may displace each other over time--that is, as one increases in frequency or use, others decrease. For example, as hospitalizations for mental illness increase in a particular area or region, imprisonments for crime within the same area may decrease. However, other scholars argue that the imposition of one type of control reinforces or parallels the imposition of another type of control. In this case, controls increase or decrease parallel to or in conjunction with each other in relation to other social forces. The linkages between mental health and criminal justice apparatuses of the state enable them to complement each other in controlling socially unacceptable behaviour.Numerous studies examine the structure and functions of the criminal justice system as the major social control bureaucracy; including studies of prison size and admission rates, prosecution rates, arrest rates, and police contact rates. More recently studies have also examined the structure and functions of the mental health system, focusing on factors that influence its size and social composition, and the structure and functions of the social welfare system, focusing on factors that influence its size and scope. Additionally; studies examine informal community control patterns and collective forms of social control. (Lindow, 1994)Most macro research takes the form of case studies, which only weakly test sociological perspectives on deviance and crime control. Most of this research focuses on only one organization, program, or policy of control either within the criminal justice, mental health, or welfare systems, and most of these studies, isolated from each other, do not constitute a recognized body of research, a literature, and their implications for a general macro theory of deviance and crime control are not fully exploited. The general purpose of this paper is to organize this research into a theoretical literature.( Stansfeld, 1998)In recent studies of health, social class in any general guise has been considered suspect, because it is no longer clear exactly what it indicates. It is also difficult to compare internationally, as occupational status may have very different meanings and relationships in different countries and cultures. More basic individual factors have tended to be investigated, especially education, life-time earning capacity, current personal or household income, and material possessions. In many Western industrialised...

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