What is prison mental health screening? This article examines the benefits and limitations of screening in a prison setting. A study of 7965 prisoners admitted to the Canadian criminal justice system from November 2012 to June 2013 showed that there were substantial disparities in the treatment of inmates. The rates of treatment were lower for males and those from non-Indigenous minority racial groups. The rates of screening and treatment were highest in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, and Quebec. However, supplemental analyses showed that the screening and treatment rates were not narrowly separated between the demographic groups.
In addition to the mental health screening in a prison, prisoners are required to complete an intake interview with a healthcare professional. The answers to the questions help prison staff determine where to house prisoners. If the prison staff suspects that a prisoner may have a mental illness, they may want to give the person an extensive evaluation. If an inmate has a mental health issue that requires special treatment, the staff can prescribe medications to help them cope.
Among the questions asked during an intake interview include questions about mental health, suicide, drug use, nervousness, and anxiety. Using this screening process in a prison can help identify individuals who may need more help, and the screening process is simple and inexpensive. However, it is important to understand that it is not a perfect test. Neither does it guarantee that a person is suffering from mental illness. It is essential to be aware of the limitations of screening instruments in a correctional environment and ensure the most accurate results possible.