Persons with mental illness have long been recognized as an important

Persons with mental illness have long been recognized as an important

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Persons with mental illness have long been recognized as an important component of the prison population in the U.S. (Monahan & Steadman, 1983). Bureau of Justice Statistics estimate that 16.2% of state prisoners and 7.4% of federal prisoners are mentally ill (Ditton, 1999), and one of every eight state prisoners is receiving some mental health treatment (Beck & Maruschak, 2001). A review of studies looking at the prevalence of mental illness in prisons found that between 13.5% and 19.6% of state prisoners were diagnosed with major depression, schizophrenia, 386 JOURNAL OF OFFENDER REHABILITATION or bipolar disorder, as compared to 10,5% of the community population (Diamond, Wang, Hölzer, Thomas, & Cruser, 2001.) While nearly nine out of ten state prisons offer some form mental health services to inmates, services vary widely. Of particular concern is the transition from prison to the community. In a stinging review of treatment of mentally ill offenders. Human Rights Watch (Fellner & Abramsky, 2003) found that few states have provided discharge services and follow-up care. In a study of mentally ill offenders released from prisons in Washington State in 1996 and 1997, Lovell, Gagliardi and Peterson
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