U.S. flag

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

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Survey Summary: Inmate Mental Health Care

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 33 Issue: 5 Dated: September/October 2008 Pages: 12-32
Cece Hill
Date Published
September 2008
21 pages
This survey reports on mental health problems of prison and jail inmates.
Results indicated that at mid-year 2005 more than half of all prison and jail inmates had a mental health problem. According to the report, female inmates had higher rates of metal health problems than male inmates. Additionally, more than one in three State prisoners and one in six jail inmates with a mental health problem had received treatment since admission. Results are discussed in terms of mental health testing, impact on staff, treatment, medications, and release services. Highlights of findings include: 80 percent of respondents screened for mental illness at intake while others attached a mandatory timeframe for testing ranging from 24 hours to 14 days; 60 percent of correctional staff considered their number of staff inadequate for their number of affected inmates; for those systems that conducted dual diagnosis testing, the therapeutic approach used for co-occurring mental illness and drug/alcohol disorders varied a great deal; 53 percent of the reporting systems used telemedicine in their psychiatric services, compared with 21 percent of the reporting systems in 2004; and all of the reporting systems indicated that they provided referrals for continuing treatment in the community for their mentally ill inmates, primarily to community mental health care providers. Data were collected from a survey which received responses from 47 systems in the United States and 2 Canadian correctional systems. Tables