The Mental Health Crisis Facing Women in Prison
"More than two-thirds of incarcerated women in America reported having
a history of mental health problems — a far higher percentage than
their male counterparts, according to a study released Thursday by the
Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Although the prevalence of mental health disorders among people in
prisons and jails is a well-known problem, the dramatic gender disparity
exposed in the new report has been less discussed.
conducted from February 2011 to March 2012, asked more than 100,000 men
and women in hundreds of U.S. jails and prisons whether they had ever
been diagnosed by a mental health professional with a psychological
disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia,
post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety. The survey also posed
questions about inmates’ mood and emotions in the previous 30 days.
Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed said they had been diagnosed
with a mental health condition. About 19 percent experienced an episode
of serious psychological distress in the month before being surveyed.
When the data is broken down by gender, the differences are stark."
View the Report