Prospective cohort study of mental health during imprisonment

Lamiece , Hassan, Birmingham, Luke , Harty, Mari A. , Jarrett, Manuela , Jones, Peter , King, Carlene , Lathlean, Judith , Lowthian, Carrie , Mills, Alice , Senior, Jane , Thornicroft, Graham , Webb , Roger and Shaw, Jenny (2011) Prospective cohort study of mental health during imprisonment. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 198, 37-42. (doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.080333).


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Mental illness is common among prisoners, but little evidence exists regarding changes in symptoms in custody over time.


To investigate the prevalence and predictors of psychiatric symptoms among prisoners during early custody.


In a prospective cohort study, 3079 prisoners were screened for mental illness within 3 days of reception. To establish baseline diagnoses and symptoms, 980 prisoners were interviewed; all remaining in custody were followed up 1 month and 2 months later.


Symptom prevalence was highest during the first week of custody. Prevalence showed a linear decline among men and convicted prisoners, but not women or remand prisoners. It decreased among prisoners with depression, but not among prisoners with other mental illnesses.

Overall, imprisonment did not exacerbate psychiatric symptoms, although differences in group responses were observed. Continued discussion regarding non-custodial alternatives for vulnerable groups and increased support for all during early custody are recommended.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.080333
ISSNs: 0007-1250 (print)
1472-1465 (electronic)
Related URLs:
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Health Sciences
ePrint ID: 184083
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 05 May 2011 10:30
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:37

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