Mentally disordered women in jail: Who receives services?

Linda A. Teplin*, Karen M. Abram, Gary M. McClelland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Objectives. Many jail inmates have severe psychiatric disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, major affective disorders). The courts have mandated that detainees have a constitutional right to treatment. We investigated what proportion of female jail detainees needed mental health services, what proportion received services, and what variables predicted who received services. Methods. Trained interviewers administered a psychiatric evaluation (the NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule) to 1272 randomly selected female jail detainees during jail intake in a large Midwestern city. Project staff then documented whether women subsequently received services, using records and case files. Results. Of the women who needed services, 23.5% received them while they were in jail. Type of disorder, treatment history, and sociodemographic variables all affected the odds of a mentally ill woman's receiving services. Conclusions. Correctional health care is a growing national public health problem. The magnitude of mental health service needs far exceeds current resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-609
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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