Psychiatric needs of male prison inmates in Italy

Massimiliano Piselli, Luigi Attademo, Raffaele Garinella, Angelo Rella, Simonetta Antinarelli, Antonia Tamantini, Roberto Quartesan, Fabrizio Stracci, Karen M. Abram*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper presents data on the mental health needs of men in an Italian prison and examines if mental health needs of inmates differ across key correctional subpopulations. Interviewers conducted semi-structured clinical interviews with 526 convicted males incarcerated in the Spoleto Prison from October 2010 through September 2011. Nearly two thirds (65.0%) of inmates had an Axis I or Axis II disorder. About half (52.7%) had an Axis I disorder. Personality disorders were the most common disorders (51.9%), followed by anxiety (25.3%) and substance use disorders (24.9%). Over one third of inmates (36.6%) had comorbid types of disorder. The most common comorbid types of disorders were substance use disorders plus personality disorders (20.1%) and anxiety disorders plus personality disorders (18.0%). Findings underscore a significant need for specialized mental health services for men in Italian prisons. Moreover, as inmates return to the community, their care becomes the responsibility of the community health system. Service systems must be equipped to provide integrated services for those with both psychiatric and substance use disorders and be prepared for challenges posed by patients with personality disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Comorbidity
  • Prisoners
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Substance use disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

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