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Community Ment Health J. 2009 Dec;45(6):439-46. doi: 10.1007/s10597-009-9204-9.

Screening and access to services for individuals with serious mental illnesses in jails.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


High rates of serious mental illnesses (SMI) among jail inmates pose challenges for the criminal justice system and risks for the individual with SMI. Research has identified actions to address these issues; it is unclear to what extent they have been operationalized. This study examines jails in one state, exploring how individuals with SMI are identified and treated, and comparing these with research-based recommendations. Results indicate that jails are not using evidence-based screenings, staff require training in SMI, access to services and medications for jailed individuals with SMI is often slow, and coordination between community providers and jails is limited.

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