Mental Health Matters – Criminal Personalities

  • ” Up to 50 percent of inmates are thought to have some diagnosable psychiatric disorder…..
  • a significant percentage of those thought to be primarily sociopathic often have an extensive history of trauma and a subsequent onset of post-traumatic stress disorder.   The trauma is especially common in African-American males, who are heavily overrepresented in prison systems.
  • A large group of prisoners also have the expected alcohol and substance abuse disorders, which are often at the root of their criminal behavior and subsequent imprisonment.
  • ADHD is overrepresented in prisoners, and is frequently seen in the core symptom of impulsivity. Another ADHD symptom-poor concentration at work and school-often contributes to subsequent crime.
  • Some schizophrenic inmates don’t seem to mind staying in prison. One such patient said to me: “Doc, I like it here. I hope I don’t have to leave. I wouldn’t mind coming back if I do. I have a place to stay, three squares, and medical care.” Finding adequate community mental health resources for inmates who complete their sentences is perhaps our greatest challenge in planning discharges.
  • Some of the most difficult prisoners to treat are those with Adult ADHD, since the best ADHD medication has very limited availability due to its potential for abuse.   Some have suggested that separate housing units be developed for such inmates.”

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