Models of Change and the Use of Prevention and Early Interventions

Authored by: Lucy Guarnera , N. Dickon Reppucci

Handbook of Forensic Mental Health Services

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138645943
eBook ISBN: 9781315627823
Adobe ISBN:


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The number of individuals with serious mental illness involved in the criminal justice system worldwide is staggering. In a recent meta-analysis, Fazel and Seewald (2012) surveyed all available studies of rates of mental illness among prisoners across the globe (1966–2012, 24 countries total), finding an overall rate of 3.7 percent with psychotic disorders and 11.4 percent with major depression. In total, then, approximately one out of seven prisoners worldwide has a serious mental disorder. With a global prison population currently exceeding 10 million, this translates to approximately 1.5 million inmates with mental illness around the globe—and over 300,000 inmates with mental illness in the United States, home to the world’s largest prison system (Walmsley, 2016). When including individuals on parole or probation, in addition to those incarcerated, the number of individuals with mental illness under the supervision of the criminal justice system in the U.S. alone rises to over one million (Kaeble, Maruschak, & Bonczar, 2015). While most data come from high-income countries (e.g., European nations, Australia, and particularly the United States), the data we do have from lowto middle-income countries suggest that their rates of mental illness among the incarcerated may be even higher (Fazel & Seewald, 2012).

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