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NIJ Study of Prisoner Mental Health Problems. Nationally representative samples of prison inmates (2004, N = 18,200) and jail inmates (2002, N = 7,000) Interviewers asked each inmate about symptoms of mental disorders they experienced within the last year Self-reported mental disorders

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nij study of prisoner mental health problems
NIJ Study of PrisonerMental Health Problems
  • Nationally representative samples of prison inmates (2004, N = 18,200) and jail inmates (2002, N = 7,000)
  • Interviewers asked each inmate about symptoms of mental disorders they experienced within the last year
  • Self-reported mental disorders
    • State prisons: 73 percent of females and 55 percent of males
    • Federal prisons: 61 percent of females and 44 percent of males
    • Jails: 75 percent of females and 63 percent of males.
self reported mental health problems by type and jurisdiction
Self-reported mental health problems by type and jurisdiction
  • State prisoners: 43 percent had symptoms of mania, 23 percent major depression and 15 percent psychotic disorder.
  • Federal prisoners: 35 percent had symptoms of mania, 16 percent major depression and 10 percent psychotic disorder.
  • Jail inmates: 54 percent had symptoms of mania, 30 percent major depression and 24 percent psychotic disorder, such as delusions or hallucinations
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Self-reported mental health problems: violence, recidivism, drug and alcohol abuse

  • Violence
    • 61 percent of state prisoners and 44 percent of jail inmates had a current or past violent offense.
  • Recidivism
    • 25 percent of state prisoners and 26 percent of jail inmates had served three or more prior sentences.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
    • Inmates with self-reported mental health problems had high rates of drug and alcohol dependency and abuse in the year before they were confined
      • 74 percent of state prisoners and 76 percent of jail inmates
    • 37 percent of state prisoners and 34 percent of jail inmates said they used drugs at the time of their offense.
    • 13 percent of state prisoners and 12 percent of jail inmates said they used methamphetamines in the month before their offense.