The Processing and Treatment of Mentally Ill Persons in the Criminal Justice System

People with mental illness are overrepresented in the ranks of those in the U.S. behind bars. A new report from the Urban Institute compiles the numbers, as well as documents how little is known about the most efficient and productive ways to treat mentally ill people who are locked up.

More than half—56 percent—of those held in state prisons, 45 percent of those in federal prison, and 64 percent of people locked up in local jails have a mental health problem, according to the report. One in five people suffers from a depression-related disorder, making that illness the most common mental health issues inmates face. Manic depression, and bipolar disorder come in second.

Population of focus: Incarcerated individuals

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Date: 2015

Organization: Urban Institute