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Resource Document on "Why Should More Psychiatrists Participate in the Treatment of Patients in Jails and Prisons?"

Approved by the Joint Reference Committee, October 2016

  • 2016

People with serious mental illness are substantially overrepresented in the criminal justice system. (Steadman, et al. 2009; Fazel et al. 2016) This results in a higher prevalence of mentally ill patients in correctional facilities than in the community and the high proportion of justice-involved patients in county and state mental health systems. State hospitals that remain after decades of deinstitutionalization have seen their beds fill with large proportions of criminal court commitments while civil commitments have diminished (Fuller et al. 2016). Public sector community mental health programs typically have sizable populations under an order for care and treatment through probation and parole conditions or conditional release from a hospital after an insanity acquittal (Fuller et al. 2016).

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