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A comparison of Australian men with psychotic disorders remanded for criminal offences and a community group of psychotic men who have not offended

A comparison of Australian men with psychotic disorders remanded for criminal offences and a community group of psychotic men who have not offended

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 40(3): 260-265

Background: People remanded into custody by the courts have a substantially higher rate of severe mental disorder than other prisoners and the general population. Knowledge of their prevalence, needs and characteristics and an analysis of pathways to care may be necessary to provide mental health care effectively and efficiently. Previous prison studies focusing on psychotic offenders have suffered from the use of instruments not validated in a forensic setting and lack of a relevant comparison group.Method: The Diagnostic Interview for Psychosis (DP) is a composite semi-structured standardized interview schedule. It combines social and demographic descriptors with measures of functioning adapted from the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule (DAS). The remand centre surveyed had 466 cells and is the main remand and reception centre for males for the southern region of the state of Queensland, Australia. Of the 621 men screened, 65 answered yes to at least one question in the DP and were interviewed.Results: Six hundred and twenty-one remandees were screened and of these 61 were interviewed as screened positive for psychotic disorder. Thirty-five per cent had been homeless for an average of 32 weeks during the previous year. Most had had little contact with families or close friends. Eighty-one per cent were receiving no treatment at the time of offence. Seventy-eight per cent were unemployed and in receipt of a pension. Eighty per cent were dependent on alcohol, cannabis or amphetamines. Statistical issues of power are detailed in the text.Conclusions: The simplistic 'prison, hospital or community treatment' debate is misleading. Instead, the development of flexible preventative, management and accommodation services for people with severe mental disorder who have committed offences is a priority.

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Accession: 011680017

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PMID: 16476154

DOI: 10.1080/j.1440-1614.2006.01783.x

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