Prevalence Estimates of Mental Illness Among Offenders

Prevalence estimates examine the number of people in a population who have a specific disorder or problem. Since the criminal justice system is made up of several separate but interrelated components (e.g., jails, probation), the prevalence of people with mental illness is determined by the number of people in specific components of the criminal justice system who have a mental illness. To understand the scope of criminal justice involvement among people with mental illness and to ensure that adequate resources are available for their care and treatment, criminal justice and mental health authorities need to obtain accurate prevalence estimates of mental illness. This entry discusses how many people with mental illness are involved in the criminal justice system and how these levels of involvement vary ...

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