TABLE 2-9 Inmates and Probationers Identified as Mentally Ill, by Gender, Race/Hispanic Origin, and Age, Midyear 1998

Offender Characteristic

Inmates

State Inmates

Federal Inmates

Jail Probationers

Total

179,200

7,900

96,700

547,800

Gender (%)

 

 

 

 

Male

15.8

7.0

15.6

14.7

Female

23.6

12.5

22.7

21.7

Race/Hispanic

 

 

 

 

Origin (%)

 

 

 

 

White*

22.6

11.8

21.7

19.6

Black*

13.5

5.6

13.7

10.4

Hispanic

11.0

4.1

11.1

9.0

Age (%)

 

 

 

 

24 or younger

14.4

6.6

13.3

13.8

25–34

14.8

5.9

15.7

13.8

35–44

18.4

7.5

19.3

19.8

45–54

19.7

10.3

22.7

21.1

55 or older

15.6

8.9

20.4

16.0

*Excludes Hispanics.

SOURCE: BJS, 1999a.

answered yes to either of two questions, “Do you have a mental or emotional condition?” or “Because of emotional or mental condition, have you ever been admitted to a mental hospital, unit, or treatment program where you stayed overnight?” Mental illness is identified more often in women and whites, and the incidence increases with age. Mentally ill prisoners tend to serve longer sentences and experience more disciplinary problems while in prison. In addition, approximately 75 percent of people with serious mental illnesses in the criminal justice system have a co-occurring substance abuse disorder (New Freedom Commission on Mental Health [NFCMH], 2004).

Anxiety disorders and major depression were the most common mental illness diagnoses in jails and state prisons (Table 2-10). The prevalence of mental illnesses appears to rise when moving from local jails to state prisons.

Six in 10 mentally ill prisoners received treatment while incarcerated in a state or federal prison. Only 4 in 10 in local jails received treatment (BJS, 1999a). Women were more likely than men to receive mental health services while incarcerated (Table 2-11). Whites were more likely than blacks and Hispanics to receive mental health services (NFCMH, 2004). Mental health treatment is lacking for probationers and parolees as well. In 1998, probationers serving their current sentence had less exposure to mental



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