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Prevalence of mental disorder in female remand prisons

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High rates of undetected mental disorder have been reported in male remand prisons. Little is known about the levels of mental disorder that are undetected among female remand prisoners. The aims of the study were to assess the prevalence of mental disorder in newly remanded female prisoners and the efficacy of the prison health screen at identifying mental disorder.Toachieve these aims consecutive female remand prisoners were screened for mental disorder at reception to prison. Diagnosis of mental disorder was compared with the findings from the standard prison health screen. There were 227 (59%) women who had at least one mental disorder (excluding substance dependence), of whom 42 (11%) were psychotic. The prison reception screening identified 81 women as having a mental disorder, and nine of them were psychotic. These results lead us to conclude that the prevalence of mental disorder, including psychoses, is very high in this population. The existing prison reception screening does not identify the majority of cases of mental disorder.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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