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Offenders With Mental Illness

Offenders with mental illness are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. In fact, rates of mental illness among offenders far exceed that of the general population. Serious mental illnesses among offenders include psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, offenders with serious mental illness have a co-occurring substance use disorder, known as a dual diagnosis or concurrent disorder, at higher rates compared to the general population. Some offenders also have psychiatric diagnoses, such as personality disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, that are not equated with such severe functional impairment as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression but still create challenges for treatment and program management within correctional facilities (e.g., jails, prisons, detention centers).

Approximately 14–16% of offenders have a serious mental ...

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