The criminalization of the mentally ill: Speculation in search of data

Linda A. Teplin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Examines the evidence for the speculation that mentally ill persons who would previously have been treated within mental hospitals are now processed through the criminal justice system and constitute an ever-increasing proportion of the jail population. Three factors underlie this speculation: the increase in mentally ill persons residing in the community, police handling of the mentally ill, and evidence that persons thought to be dangerous are among the most unwanted clients of mental health agencies. Three types of research are explored: archival studies, investigations of police decision making, and studies of the prevalence of mental disorder among jail detainees. It is concluded that the research literature, albeit methodologically flawed, offers at least modest support for the contention that the mentally ill are being processed through the criminal justice system. (81 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-67
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1983


  • criminalization, mentally ill, literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The criminalization of the mentally ill: Speculation in search of data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this