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Self‐reported Mental Health Issues Among Arrestees in the Paris, France Area

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We studied (May–September 2014) all arrestees who reported mental health issues during the medical examination performed by a forensic physician for the assessment of fitness for detention. Among 4814 arrestees, 420 (9%) reported a current mental health issue. The suspected crimes among arrestees reporting a current mental health issue were more often related to violent behaviors (physical assault, 23% vs. 16%, p < 0.001, sexual assault, 3% vs. 1%, p = 0.01) and less often drug offenses (18% vs. 29%, p < 0.001). Among arrestees reporting mental health issues, 80% reported psychiatric or psychological care, of whom 33% reported previous mental health care. Decisions of unfitness for detention were more frequent among arrestees reporting mental health issues than in other detainees (3% vs. 1%, p < 0.001). The high proportion of patients with interrupted mental health care among those reporting mental disorders suggests that the medical examination during custody could be a significant opportunity to restore psychiatric care.
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Keywords: arrestee; fitness for detention; forensic science; mental disorder; police custody; psychiatric care

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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