The Predictors of Incarceration among Individuals Suffering From Mental Illness

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D Louis, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA


Mental illness has significant humanistic, societal, and monetary impact in the US. As a result of many of the deficits in treatment, individuals with mental illness are ultimately disproportionately incarcerated in the criminal justice system. The purpose of this project was to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between mental illness and incarceration. More specifically, this project set out to identify potential predictors of incarceration among individuals suffering from mental illness by utilizing the Survey of Inmates in Federal Correctional Facilities (SIFCF) to test various statistical relationships between mental health status and other characteristics of inmates. The focus was on areas that have not previously been studied as extensively as other characteristics uncovered in the literature review. Those areas were criminal social influence while growing up, parental status, educational status, and criminal history. The quantitative findings were complemented by a series of primary market research interviews with some of the nation’s leaders in behavioral health service delivery and policy. Together, the data analyses and primary market research interviews informed recommendations to perform test programs and additional precise research. If executed, these programs and additional research can help enhance jail diversion and treatment of individuals suffering from mental illness and catalyze better data for continued advancement of learning in the behavioral health field.

Presentation: 28 minutes

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