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Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 1995;23(4):573-85.

Screening prison inmates for mental disorder: an examination of the relationship between mental disorder and prison adjustment.

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Forensic Health Services, Bridgewater State Hospital, MA 02324, USA.


The rapidly expanding population of prison inmates has severely challenged the prison system's ability to effectively screen incoming inmates for mental disorders and mental health service needs. This study describes a comprehensive mental health screening of inmates at a maximum security prison, using a modified version of the Referral Decision Scale (RDS), a screening measure developed from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule. Modified items and adjusted cut-off scores were used in order to reduce the rate of false positives. Survey results indicate that this modified version of the RDS may be an effective screening measure for correctional settings. Subjects who were positive on the RDS were compared to negative subjects on a variety of offense and prison adjustment variables. Findings indicate that while subjects who were positive on the RDS experienced some initial adjustment problems within the prison, they were generally not found to be involved in an elevated rate of prison violence and were not more often remanded to disciplinary units than those subjects who were negative on the RDS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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