Date: May 2005
Creator: Harrison, Kimberly S.
Description: Psychologists and other mental health professionals working in correctional institutions bear the considerable responsibility for identifying, diagnosing, and treating mentally disordered inmates. The importance of these responsibilities has been recognized in recent years because of the burgeoning population of inmates in general and the higher numbers of inmates with mental illness in particular. Research has demonstrated that the screens currently used in correctional settings to identify mentally disordered and suicidal inmates are either unvalidated or generally ineffective. This study investigates the validity of different mental health screens in a jail population. Inmates from the Grayson County Jail were administered three screens: the Referral Decision Scale (RDS), Personality Assessment Screener (PAS), and the Mental Disability/Suicide Intake Screen (MDSIS). Criterion measures were the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (SADS) for Axis I disorders and the Suicide Probability Scale (SPS) for suicidal ideation. Results indicate that each screen most effectively assessed one clinical domain: the RDS for psychosis, the MDSIS for suicidality, and the PAS for depression. Gender differences were observed in screen items most effective for classifying inmates by suicide risk level.
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