Studies have shown that incarcerated individuals are 5 times more likely to experience a mental health problem than the general population.
Only one-third of inmates in the United States with mental health issues actually receive treatment according to a just released Department of Justice report. A higher percentage of female prisoners suffered more than men while Caucasians were found to have more mental health problems than Black and Hispanic inmates.
Major depressive disorder was the most common self-reported previous diagnosis among prisoners and inmates, followed by bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress.
Lauren-Brooke Eisen with The Brennan Center for Justice says, “Prisons in the United States are being treated like mental health warehouses. In prisons there is more programming than in jails but it’s not enough and the programs that exist are very hard to get into. There are huge waiting lists to get into these programs and they prioritize those reentering society sooner.”
The most common treatment for inmates and prisoners indicating a mental health problem was prescription medications. But “throwing pills at people” is inadequate treatment, said ACLU National Prison Project Director David Fathi.
The Supreme Court ruled prisoners have the right to access mental health care, but Fathi noted this care is not being provided.
Source: Emma Kerr/thedailybeast.com
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