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Chartbook on Mental Health and Disability

Section 4: Access, utilization, and cost of services

4.12. What kinds of mental health services are provided in state prisons?

In 2000, the Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities gathered data on mental health services from 1,668 federal, state and private prison institutions throughout the nation, which shows that more than 95% of state confinement prisons offered mental health services. Most state prisons screened inmates at intake (77.9%) and provided psychiatric assessment (78.8%). The state prisons also typically provided therapy or counseling (84.4%) and psychotropic medications (83.0%). A majority of state prisons maintained 24-hour mental health care in the facility (63.2%) and assisted released prisoners with mental health issues (72.0%). The lower security community-based facilities, which typically allow inmates to leave the facility unaccompanied, provided fewer services than the larger confinement facilities. Nevertheless, 82.2% of community-based facilities provided mental health services.

One in ten state inmates received psychotropic medications and 1 in 8 received mental health therapy or counseling.

Nearly all state prisons provide mental health services to prisoners; large state facilities provide more services than smaller, community-based facilities.

Figure 31 (see data table for text-only version)

Figure 31: Percentage of state confinement prisons and community-based facilities providing selected mental health services, 2000

Source: Beck & Maruschak (2001)

Surveys: Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities, 2000

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