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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2014 Feb;60(1):55-62. doi: 10.1177/0020764012461334. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Profile of male forensic psychiatric inpatients in South India.

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1Department of Psychiatric Nursing, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India.



The study explored the socio-demographic, clinical and legal profile of forensic psychiatric inpatients in an attempt to improve the existing mental health services for prisoners within the prison and in psychiatric hospitals.


ology: A chart review of 135 forensic psychiatric inpatients admitted between January 2005 and December 2009 was done. A structured data-extraction tool was used for data collection and a descriptive approach for analyses.


Subjects were referred either directly from prison (62.2%) or from court (37.8%) for diagnosis, treatment or certification. References to the Mental Health Act 1987, charges and inclusion of first investigation report and behavioural observation report was lacking in most. The majority of prisoners (85.7%) were under trial, murder being the most common charge. Psychiatric diagnosis was made in 90.3%, the most common being psychosis. Substance use (nicotine, alcohol, cannabis) and high-risk behaviours were also common.


There is a need to streamline the procedure of referral and to sensitize the referral authorities about the Mental Health Act and mental illnesses, and the need to enclose first investigation reports and behavioural observation reports. De-addiction services and facilities need to be established within prison premises so that the inmates get the benefit of treatment at the earliest opportunity.


Forensic; legal; prison; psychiatry

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