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Can J Psychiatry. 2016 Oct;61(10):624-32. doi: 10.1177/0706743716639929. Epub 2016 Apr 5.

National Prevalence of Mental Disorders among Incoming Canadian Male Offenders.

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Correctional Service of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
Correctional Service of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario



A current estimate of prevalence rates of mental disorder among Canadian federal offenders is required to facilitate treatment delivery and service planning.


The study determined prevalence rates of major mental disorders among newly admitted male offenders entering the federal correctional system in Canada. Data were collected at each regional reception site on consecutive admissions for a 6-month period (N = 1110). Lifetime and current prevalence rates were estimated using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) and the SCID Axis II Disorders (SCID-II). Degree of impairment was estimated using the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale. Results were disaggregated by Aboriginal ancestry.


The national prevalence rate for any current mental disorder was 73%. The highest rates were for alcohol and substance use disorders; however, over half of participants met the lifetime criteria for a major mental disorder other than alcohol or substance use disorders or antisocial personality disorder. Thirty-eight percent met the criteria for both a current mental disorder and one of the substance use disorders. Fifty-seven percent of offenders with a current Axis I mental disorder were rated as experiencing minimal to moderate functional impairment based on the GAF, indicating that most participants do not require intensive psychiatric services.


These results underscore the challenge posed to Canadian federal corrections in providing the necessary mental health services to assist in the management and rehabilitation of a significant percentage of the offender population with mental health needs.


concurrent disorders; corrections; offenders; prevalence of mental disorders

[Available on 2017-04-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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