Mental Health Issues and Jail Inmates

·      Mental health problems are a seen in 75% of female and 63% of male inmates.

·       Only 1 in 6 jail inmates receive treatment while in jail.

·      Many problems related to incarceration in jail are related to not taking the prescribed medication for the mental disorder.

·      High rates of drug and alcohol use among those with mental disorders.

·      Common disorders are: bipolar, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and schizophrenia.


Ways to prevent incarceration in jail

·     Encourage people with mental health disorders to see their medical doctors on a regular basis.

·     Take the prescribed medication as directed by the doctor.

·     Seek help with addiction to drugs and alcohol.

·     Call 911 if you feel you are going to harm yourself or others.

·     Contact your doctor if you can?t afford your medications or having bad side effects from your medications.

·     Don?t stop your medications on your own.

·     If placed in jail, notify staff of current medications and health condition. They can get you back started on your medications.


Resources for help

·     Contact local hospitals and clinics in your area for medical help.

·     Contact local services like: Lutheran Social Services, local free medical clinics, and mental health counseling services.

·     Local churches in the area.

·     Salvation Army or Red Cross.

·     Chemical dependency treatment center

·     Public health department.


Resources for help in the Superior, Wisconsin area

·      HRC Mental Health Service (subsidized care)         392-8216

·      Lutheran Social Services                                           394-4173

·      Lake Superior Community Health (Medical care)    392-6909

·      Duluth Detox Center                                      786-8364

·      Family Enpowerment                                     394-6909

·      Duluth Clinic                                                  786-8364

·      St. Luke?s Hospital                                          249-7000

·      Bayside Baptist Church                                  394-6002

·      Salvation Army                                               394-7001


For the Health care Professional


1.    Assess those who want to hurt or harm themselves ASAP.

2.    Gather information on past medication prescriptions and doctors then have seen.

3.    Call pharmacies and clinics as needed to get information on psychiatric medications for the inmate.

4.    Note that some psychiatric medications are shared and abused while in jail.

5.    Help with early release and planning to have inmate stay on medications after being released from jail.

6.    Notify other facilities of inmate?s medical needs.

7.    Provide professional caring environment while meeting with inmate.


Glaze, L. & James, J. (2006). Mental health problems of prison and jail inmates.

Goossens, P.J., Van Achterberg, T. & Knoppert- Van der Klein, E.A.  (2007).     

          Nursing processes used in the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder.

          International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 16, p. 168-77

Peternelj-Taylor, C. (2008). Criminalization of the mentally ill. Journal of

          Forensic Nursing, 4, p.185-7