Critical Issues - Mental Illnesses

From: National Corrections Journal, 174463, July 1999

Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report
Persons With Severe Mental Illness in Jails and Prisons: A Review

Linda A. Teplin, Ph.D.

Psycho-legal Studies Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Medical School, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Abstract:

This paper presents prevalence rates by race/ethnicity and age for nine psychiatric and substance use disorders found in a random sample of 728 male jail detainees. Two thirds of the sample detainees had had a disorder other than antisocial personality during their lifetimes; half of these had had an episode within 2 weeks of the interview. More than 30% currently had either a severe mental disorder or a substance use disorder. Detainees with severe mental disorders or substance use disorders were most often in jail because they had committed nonviolent crimes. Policy implications of the results are discussed.

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