Brief Jail Mental Health Screen

On any given day, 5–15% of men and 20–30% of women jail detainees have a diagnosable serious mental illness, resulting in over 2 million persons with mental disorder admitted to U.S. jails each year. Corrections professionals have a constitutional obligation to provide adequate mental health treatment; thus, they need to immediately triage incoming detainees to determine who is at risk of suicide, who has mental health problems, and who is experiencing typical reactions to incarceration. To assist jails in meeting their constitutional obligation, researchers developed a valid, easy-to-administer screen for mental health disorders in jails: the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen (BJMHS). This entry discusses the development, validation, and use of the BJMHS.


The BJMHS was developed with funding from the National Institute of Justice ...

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