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Problem Definition in Statutes

Baker Act Analysis

Approaches to the timely identification of mental disorders are largely dependent on certain legislation maintained in accordance with official programs. Taking the Florida Mental Health Act (The Florida Legislature, 2019a) as background for analysis, criminal justice issues with regard to the topic concerned will be considered, and justifications will be given in support of specific assumptions. This document provides for the involvement of various social classes in the program to help identify mental disorders, including family members and healthcare workers themselves. In the context of criminal law, the use of the provisions of this act may be considered the method of addressing the problem of identifying relevant disorders in offenders.

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Problem Definition

The possibility of obtaining free access to screening procedures aimed at determining the propensity for mental disorders is relevant to criminal justice. The need to examine individual offenders is imperative in case of doubts about the adequacy of the offenses committed by criminals. Section 394.469 of the Act addresses the issue of involuntary patient discharge and focuses on the difference between this procedure and standard hearings in relation to persons who have committed a criminal offense (The Florida Legislature, 2019a). Also, in section 394.459, the problem of imprisonment is addressed with reference to those patients who have committed an offense but have a confirmed diagnosis of mental disorder (The Florida Legislature, 2019a). Such people gain access to medical care and are held in special facilities rather than state prisons. A similar approach to the organization of criminal justice policies in relation to people with mental disabilities proves that the Act in question addresses the controversial issues of the prosecution of offenders with confirmed diagnoses.


The Act under review covers some issues promoted today as part of the program to provide free access to healthcare services. According to section 394.459, respect for the rights of all patients, without exception, is considered as a prerequisite for the policy concerning people with mental disorders (The Florida Legislature, 2019a). Also, section 394.467 addresses the issue of involuntary inpatient placement, and, based on its provisions, the participation of medical staff in rendering a verdict is mandatory regardless of legal proceedings against ordinary citizens or criminals (The Florida Legislature, 2019a). However, in addition to the official theoretical background, no criminological or social science theories are presented. As Terp et al. (2019) note, the terms of access to mental health services for patients should include compliance with the provisions of both general legislation, for instance, Medicare and individual cases specific to particular states. Therefore, in the conditions under consideration in Florida, it would be relevant to quote not only obligations and rights but also possible implications and factors affecting admissions, for example, shock incarceration, general theories of social adaptation, and some other concepts.

Smoking Prohibition Inside State Correctional Facilities Analysis

Health protection in corrective facilities is one of the areas of state work. When using the example of the official legislation from the Florida Statutes, in particular, section 944.115 on the prohibition of smoking within such institutions, it is possible to analyze how these provisions touch on criminal justice issues and how special rules are related to the prisoner assistance program. As arguments, relevant extracts from this set of norms will be evaluated, and appropriate justifications will be given.

Problem Definition

The problem of the excessive use of tobacco products inside correctional facilities affects both prisoners and staff. Therefore, in accordance with paragraph 3.b.1, the validity of this issue implies taking actions against any visitors (The Florida Legislature, 2019b). Also, the fairness of equal rights is proved by paragraph 2.b, according to which correctional officers who violate the terms of the Act are subject to punishment, in particular, disciplinary actions (The Florida Legislature, 2019b). In paragraph 2.f, a detailed description of the prohibited places is provided, which clarifies the potential points of contention regarding the validity of the claims (The Florida Legislature, 2019b). In addition, in paragraph 2.d, a list of all substances is given, which makes it possible to identify those smoking products that cannot be consumed inside the aforementioned places (The Florida Legislature, 2019b). In general, this act provides a detailed description of all the requirements and conditions, which does not allow interpreting it in two ways and helps avoid controversial nuances.


Separation on the basis of the classes of prisoners, staff, and visitors is the only distinction supported in the Act in question. According to the document (paragraph 2.5), each correctional institution has the right to impose punishment and monitor compliance with these provisions (The Florida Legislature, 2019b). However, in order to obtain a more reliable picture, additional criminological or social science theories could have been drawn. For instance, Nowotny and Kuptsevych-Timmer (2018) mention the gender concept that implies differences in the assessment of the effect of smoking on prisoners’ health. Consequently, in order to achieve more substantial results, racial, age, and some other individual aspects could have been taken into account. This would have made the act more patient-oriented and helped solve the problem more qualitatively.


Based on the results of the review of the two Florida Statutes, it can be noted that, despite the detailed proposed measures to control the health of those involved in the criminal system, some theories are lacking. In particular, in addition to the offered actions for the timely identification of mental disorders and the prohibition of smoking within correctional facilities, more attention should be paid to the social aspects of work. Ben-Zadok (2018) proposes to consider the principle of social policy learning aimed at familiarizing stakeholders with the specific provisions of the existing policies and promoting knowledge regarding specific preventive or prohibitive measures. Also, in addition to the reviewed practices for promoting health among prisoners, the alternative methods of assistance would be relevant for assessing, for instance, individual work with people who are dependent on tobacco or who have propensities for mental disorders. This would make the considered documents more valuable in the context of social orientation.

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Criminological perspectives are also not disclosed comprehensively in order to talk about the high significance of the proposed innovations. Both acts do not promote a healthy lifestyle with a focus on the existing theories of the legal system and rely on the aspects of healthcare. As a result, the value of these documents in the context of criminal justice is not very high, which is an omission and requires more focused and thought-out work. Additional activities aimed at introducing relevant concepts involving prisoners’ individual characteristics and their psychological images could be useful in order to achieve a greater effect of all the offered interventions.


Ben-Zadok, E. (2018). Understanding policy learning and change through policy beliefs: Florida smart growth. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 10(2), 123-138. Web.

The Florida Legislature. (2019a). The 2018 Florida statutes. Web.

The Florida Legislature. (2019b). The 2018 Florida statutes. Web.

Nowotny, K. M., & Kuptsevych-Timmer, A. (2018). Health and justice: Framing incarceration as a social determinant of health for Black men in the United States. Sociology Compass, 12(3), e12566. Web.

Terp, S., Wang, B., Burner, E., Connor, D., Seabury, S. A., & Menchine, M. (2019). Civil monetary penalties resulting from violations of the Emergency Medical treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) involving psychiatric emergencies, 2002 to 2018. Academic Emergency Medicine, 26(5), 470-478. Web.

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