Self-reported lifetime psychiatric hospitalization histories of jail detainees with mental disorders: comparison with a non-incarcerated national sample

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Epidemiologic Methods; Health Services Accessibility; Hospitalization; Hospitals, Psychiatric; Humans; Male; Massachusetts; Mental Disorders; Mentally Ill Persons; Prevalence; Prisoners; *Self Disclosure; Socioeconomic Factors


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Lack of access to hospitalization is an often-cited risk factor for incarceration among persons with severe mental illness. This proposition is examined by comparing self-reports of lifetime psychiatric hospitalization histories of mentally ill jail inmates with data from a national sample of non-incarcerated mentally ill. Roughly 52% of mentally ill jail detainees reported at least one psychiatric hospitalization, a rate nearly three times that of the comparison group. The data call into question the notion that mentally ill jail inmates have reduced access to psychiatric inpatient treatment, without addressing the adequacy of the treatment received. Longitudinal studies are needed to explore temporal relationships to better understand the relationship between mental health treatment and criminal justice involvement.

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Citation: J Behav Health Serv Res. 2002 Nov;29(4):458-65.

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