Assessing the Relationship Between Mental Illness and Disciplinary Segregation in Prisons

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Anna Johns
Josh Cochran


By Anna Johns, Criminal Justice and Psychology

Advisor: Josh Cochran

Presentation ID: 6

Abstract: The paper seeks to develop a better understanding of the extent to which mental health impacts how prisons respond to inmate infractions and whether MH impacts differ for men compared to women. We will conduct a series of bivariate analyses. The final step will involve a series of multivariate regression analyses that assess the robustness of the bivariate comparisons. Previous research demonstrates that individuals with a mental illness are more likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system (Hafemeister & George, 2013) and up to 30% of inmates placed in restrictive housing meet the criteria for mental illness (Cloyes et al., 2006). However, we have limited knowledge about the extent to which differences exist in how prisons respond to violent and non-violent rule infractions when an incarcerated individual has a known mental health problem. Any analysis of the impacts of mental illness on criminal justice system actions requires considering also the interplay between mental health status and gender. Prior research tells us that there are substantial gender differences in mental health problems of incarcerated people (Severson, 2019; O'Keefe, 2007; James & Glaze, 2006). And, particularly relevant in this line of inquiry, is the fact that gender status is a predictor of placement into restrictive housing (Severson, 2019; Houser & Belenko, 2015; O'Keefe, 2007) and the amount of time spent in restrictive housing (Tasca & Turanovic, 2018).

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Social (In)Justice