. "2 Today's Prisoners: Changing Demographics, Health Issues, and the Current Research Environment." Ethical Considerations for Research Involving Prisoners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.
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Ethical Considerations for Research Involving Prisoners
TABLE 2-10 Estimated Prevalence of Mental Illness, 1999
Jail Inmates (%)
State Prison Inmates (%)
Post-traumatic stress disorder
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