Correctional Mental Health Research: Opportunities and Barriers

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Center for Mental Health Services Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Prisons; Mental Health; Health Services Research


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


In March 2007, a national work group met to review the state of mental health research in correctional settings. Participants identified gaps in current knowledge and topics most in need of further research. The discussion of important subjects for further investigation focused on five broad, and often overlapping, content areas: epidemiology, research methodology, functional behaviors, efficacy of interventions, and safety. Barriers to conducting correctional research that the group identified included funding difficulties, resistance from stakeholders, restricted access to subjects, limited information technology, ethical concerns, and institutional review board (IRB) requirements. Potential strategies for overcoming these barriers, such as setting appropriate priorities, easing the burden of research protocols, identifying key collaborators, and facilitating the IRB-approval process, were also discussed.


Appelbaum K.L. (2008). Correctional mental health research: opportunities and barriers, Journal of Correctional Health Care, 14(4), 269-277.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Correctional Health Care