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Publication Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail Inmates

Lauren E. Glaze, Doris J. James

September 6, 2006    NCJ 213600

Presents estimates of the prevalence of mental health problems among prison and jail inmates using self-reported data on recent history and symptoms of mental disorders. The report compares the characteristics of offenders with a mental health problem to those without, including current offense, criminal record, sentence length, time expected to be served, co-occurring substance dependence or abuse, family background, and facility conduct since current admission. It presents measures of mental health problems by gender, race, Hispanic origin, and age. The report describes mental health problems and mental health treatment among inmates since admission to jail or prison. Findings are based on the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2004, and the Survey of Inmates in Local Jails, 2002.

Highlights:

  • Nearly a quarter of both State prisoners and jail inmates who had a mental health problem, compared to a fifth of those without, had served 3 or more prior incarcerations.
  • Female inmates had higher rates of mental health problems than male inmates (State prisons: 73% of females and 55% of males; Federal prisons: 61% of females and 44% of males; local jails: 75% of females and 63% of males).
  • Over 1 in 3 State prisoners, 1 in 4 Federal prisoners, and 1 in 6 jail inmates who had a mental health problem had received treatment since admission.

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