Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Study Documents High Prevalence of Serious Mental Illnesses among Nation’s Jail Populations

WASHINGTON (June 1, 2009) – A new study released today of more than 20,000 men and women entering jail offers the most accurate accounting in more than two decades of the number of adults with serious mental illnesses in these facilities.
Using screening instruments to identify individuals entering jails with the most serious mental illnesses and the greatest need for comprehensive and continuous treatment, a team of researchers from the nonpartisan Council of State Governments Justice Center and Policy Research Associates found that 14.5 percent of males and 31 percent of females—or 16.9 percent overall—met that criteria. The percentage of women with serious mental illnesses in jail is double that of men—a particularly troubling finding given the overall growth in the female jail population and the lack of research on the reasons for this overrepresentation.

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