People with mental illnesses are greatly overrepresented in our prisons. Prisoners are two to three times as likely as those in the community to have a mental illness and are ten to 15 times more likely to have a psychotic disorder. Our research suggests one in three people taken into police custody are likely to be receiving psychiatric treatment at the time. If you include those with a substance misuse disorder, the numbers increase even further.
Prisoners with mental illnesses often do not adapt well to prison. They are more likely to be at risk for suicide and to present management difficulties for prison staff.
A high percentage of prisoners are on remand awaiting sentence and most receive relatively short sentences, so we need to consider the continuity of mental health care from the community, through the period of incarceration and back in the community upon release.
– by James Ogloff