TABLE 2-10 Estimated Prevalence of Mental Illness, 1999

Illness

Jail Inmates (%)

State Prison Inmates (%)

Schizophrenia

1

2–4

Major depression

8–15

13–19

Bipolar disorder

1–3

2–5

Dysthymia

2–5

8–14

Anxiety disorder

14–20

22–30

Post-traumatic stress disorder

4–9

6–12

SOURCE: NCCHC, 2002.

health treatment compared with confined prisoners. Specifically, mentally ill probationers were less likely than state and federal prisoners to have taken a psychiatric medication, to have received any mental health service, or to have been hospitalized for their condition, although they were just as likely to have received counseling or therapy (BJS, 1999a). Furthermore, less than half of the probationers (43 percent) who were required to engage in mental health treatment had actually participated (BJS, 1999a).

Human Rights Watch (2003) has called prison mental health services “woefully deficient.” Too often, they state, seriously ill prisoners are neglected, accused of malingering, or treated as disciplinary problems.

Without the necessary care, mentally ill prisoners suffer painful symptoms and their conditions can deteriorate. They are afflicted with delusions and hallucinations, debilitating fears, extreme and uncontrollable mood swings. They huddle silently in their cells, mumble incoherently, or yell incessantly. They refuse to obey orders or lash out without apparent prov-

TABLE 2-11 Percent of Mentally Ill Receiving Mental Health Services While Incarcerated, 1998

Variable

State Prison

Federal Prison

Local Jail

Gender (5)

 

 

 

Male

59.9

57.4

38.4

Female

67.3

76.5

56.2

Race/ethnicity (%)

 

 

 

White

64.1

65.4

44.7

Black

56.4

50.0

34.2

Hispanic

59.9

62.5

40.6

SOURCE: BJS, 1999a.



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