skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 75566 Find in a Library
Title: Mental Health Care in County Jails
Author(s): G T Peters
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 9
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Issues involved in setting up a good mental health services program in county jails are described and discussed, including treatment, hospitalization, referral, access, assessment, and staff.
Abstract: Because of the incidence of significant and often severe psychiatric problems within jails, and because staff and other resources are usually limited, some hard decisions have to be made with regard to the requests for mental health services to inmates. Treatment decisions must take into account the severity of the psychiatric problems, the availability of secure mental health facilities, the legal and custody status of the inmates, the value of using psychoactive medications, and the possibility of scheduling regular supportive counseling sessions or immediate crisis intervention. In many instances, one of the key elements of jail mental health treatment is the removal of an inmate from the jail environment. Devising a referral system that is appropriate both to the needs of the jail population and to the staffing pattern of the mental health team is another key element in running a jail psychiatric program. Such a system must ensure that all inmates needing assistance will be seen, but must also allow efficient triage decisions to be made. Despite the severity of the mental health problem in county jails, political decisions determine how much staff and facility resources are committed to jail mental health treatment. It is critical that the mental health staff work fulltime in the jail in order to understand the interpersonal complexities of the jail situation and in order to develop a positive relationship with the custody staff.
Index Term(s): Jails; Mental health services; Mentally ill offenders
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.