U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Mental Health and Treatment of Inmates and Probationers

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1999
12 pages
Paula M. Ditton
Publication Series
Publication Type
This report presents findings from mental health-related questions in the 1997 Survey of Inmates in State or Federal Correctional Facilities, the 1996 Survey of Inmates in Local Jails, and the 1995 Survey of Adults on Probation.
In each survey, offenders selected through nationally representative samples were asked a series of mental health-related questions. Respondents were asked if they had a mental or emotional condition and whether they had ever received treatment for a mental or emotional problem, other than treatment related to drug or alcohol abuse. Approximately 10 percent of prison and jail inmates reported a mental or emotional condition; and 10 percent said they had stayed overnight in a mental hospital or program. Together, 16 percent (an estimated 283,800 inmates) reported either a mental condition or an overnight stay in a mental hospital, and were identified as mentally ill. Approximately 53 percent of mentally ill inmates were in prison for a violent offense, compared to 46 percent of other inmates. Mentally ill offenders were less likely than others to be incarcerated for a drug-related offense. Mentally ill State prison inmates were more than twice as likely as other inmates to report living on the street or in a shelter in the 12 months prior to arrest (20 percent compared to 9 percent). Nearly 8 in 10 female mentally ill inmates reported physical or sexual abuse. Males with a mental condition were more than twice as likely as other males to report abuse. Six in 10 mentally ill State inmates reported receiving mental-health treatment since admission to prison. 17 tables and 7 references
Date Created: December 21, 2009