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Indicators of Mental Health Problems Reported by Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2011-2012

NCJ Number
250612
Author(s)
Jennifer Bronson; Marcus Berzofsky
Date Published
June 2017
Length
16 pages
Publication Series
Annotation
This report presents two prevalence estimates of mental health problems among State and Federal prisoners and local jail inmates who met the threshold for serious psychological distress (SPD) and were told by a mental health professional to have a mental disorder.
Abstract

Presents prevalence estimates of mental health indicators among state and federal prisoners and jail inmates by different time periods, demographics, criminal justice history, most serious offense, mental health treatment received while incarcerated, and rule violations. Indicators were defined as serious psychological distress (SPD) in the 30 days prior to the interview or having a history of a mental health problem. Data are from BJS's 2011-2012 National Inmate Survey. Comparisons to the general population are based on data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

  • More jail inmates (26%) than prisoners (14%) met the threshold for serious psychological distress (SPD) in the past 30 days.
  • Among those who had ever been told they had a mental disorder, the largest percentage of prisoners (24%) and jail inmates (31%) reported they had a major depressive disorder.
  • More prisoners (14%) and jail inmates (26%) met the threshold  for SPD in the past 30 days than the standardized general population (5%).
  • Prescription medication was the most common treatment type for prisoners and jail inmates who met the threshold for SPD in the past 30 days.
  • Fourteen percent of prisoners and 10% of jail inmates who met the threshold for SPD in the past 30 days were written up or charged with assault.

Date Published: June 1, 2017