Helping a loved one who is experiencing a severe mental illness, especially someone who may not realize they are sick, is one of the greatest gifts you can give. For some, it may mean the difference between life and tragedy. ~ Treatment Advocacy Center
(Sept. 8, 2015) Former prisoners with psychiatric disorders or substance abuse are “substantially more likely” to commit a violent crime after release than other prisoners, according to a new study published in Lancet.
There could be 1 million fewer violent crimes a year in the US if prisoners with these conditions received better health care behind bars and after release to the community, the research team said.
“One in seven prisoners have a psychotic illness or major depression and around one in five enter prison with clinically significant substance abuse disorders,” Seena Fazel, lead author and professor of forensic psychiatry at the University of Oxford in the UK, commented after publication of the article.
“As these disorders are common and mostly treatable, better screening and mental health services before and after release are essential to prevent future violence and improve both public health and safety.”
All psychiatric diagnoses were found to be associated with an increased rate of re-offending after release, but six psychiatric diagnoses – including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and substance abuse – carried the highest risk. Former prisoners with mental health issues also were found to re-offend much sooner after release than other ex-inmates.
“Just as inmates should be treated for tuberculosis, diabetes, and hypertension, so also should they be treated for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression,” the Treatment Advocacy Center report said.
The study by the team led by Fazel was based on nearly 48,000 ex-inmates released in Sweden from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2009.