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Br J Psychiatry. 2002 Dec;181:473-80.

Ethnic differences in prisoners. 1: criminality and psychiatric morbidity.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological Medicine, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. J.W.Coid@qmul.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In England and Wales, persons of African-Caribbean origin are more likely to be both imprisoned and admitted to secure hospitals.

AIMS:

To estimate population-based rates of imprisonment in different ethnic groups, and compare criminal behaviour and psychiatric morbidity.

METHOD:

We examined Home Office data on all persons in prison, and carried out a two-stage cross-sectional survey of 3142 remanded and sentenced, male and female, prisoners in all penal establishments in England and Wales in 1997.

RESULTS:

We confirmed high rates of imprisonment for Black people and lower rates for South Asians. Different patterns of offending and lower prevalence of psychiatric morbidity were observed in Black prisoners.

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite increased risks of imprisonment, African-Caribbeans show less psychiatric morbidity than White prisoners. This contrasts with the excess of African-Caribbeans in secure hospitals, an inconsistency possibly in part due to the effects of ethnic groups on admission procedures.

PMID:
12456516
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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