Lack of Mental Health Care in U.S. Prisons

Author: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Published: 2015/01/12 - Updated: 2024/05/09
Publication Type: Findings - Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: Research shows state and federal prisoners are not receiving treatment for mental health conditions. Individuals with untreated mental health conditions may be at higher risk for correctional rehabilitation treatment failure and future recidivism after release from prison. Screening tools are not consistent across prisons and inmates could be diagnosed with different conditions or not diagnosed at all when they get transferred to a new location.

Introduction

A significant portion of state and federal prisoners are not receiving treatment for mental health conditions, according to research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. The study was published recently in the American Journal of Public Health.

Main Digest

Mental health disorders among prisoners have consistently exceeded rates of disorders in the general population. Twenty six percent of prisoners reported a mental health diagnosis in the study, compared to 18 percent in the general population in 2012, according to the National Institutes of Health.

State and federal courts mandate that inmates must have access to adequate health services in prison. However, that mandate usually covers only "severe or serious" mental illnesses, according to the paper.

"Individuals with untreated mental health conditions may be at higher risk for correctional rehabilitation treatment failure and future recidivism - tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior - after release from prison," said Jennifer Reingle, Ph.D., principal investigator and assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health Dallas Regional Campus.

Continued below image.
Jennifer Reingle, Ph.D., studied the mental health care of state and federal prisoners. Photo Credit UTHealth School of Public Health
Jennifer Reingle, Ph.D., studied the mental health care of state and federal prisoners. Photo Credit UTHealth School of Public Health
Continued...

Data was obtained from a 2004 national sample of state and federal prisoners, which included 14,499 participants in state prisons and 3,686 in federal prisons:

"Screening tools are not consistent across prisons and inmates could be diagnosed with different conditions or not diagnosed at all when they get transferred to a new location," said Reingle. "A standardized mental health screening process could benefit the inmates and the prison system as a whole."

This study also found evidence of racial disparities in medication continuity:

In the study, researchers concluded that of the participants who were taking medication for a mental health condition in prison, 61 percent used no other form of treatment. A more holistic, multidimensional approach to treatment, such as counseling or group therapy, may lead to better outcomes and lower recidivism rates in this population, said Reingle.

Similar Topics of Interest

Attribution/Source(s):

This peer reviewed publication titled Lack of Mental Health Care in U.S. Prisons was selected for publishing by Disabled World's editors due to its relevance to the disability community. While the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity, it was originally authored by University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and published 2015/01/12 (Edit Update: 2024/05/09). For further details or clarifications, you can contact University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston directly at uth.edu Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

Related Publications

Share This Information To:
𝕏.com Facebook Reddit

Page Information, Citing and Disclaimer

Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and carers. We'd love for you to follow and connect with us on social media!

Cite This Page (APA): University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. (2015, January 12 - Last revised: 2024, May 9). Lack of Mental Health Care in U.S. Prisons. Disabled World. Retrieved June 14, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/psychological/prison.php

Permalink: <a href="https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/psychological/prison.php">Lack of Mental Health Care in U.S. Prisons</a>: Research shows state and federal prisoners are not receiving treatment for mental health conditions.

Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are never meant to substitute for qualified medical care. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.