In the prison system there are high percentages of mentally disordered offenders, often with co-morbid psychiatric disorders. In addition, the setting and ward atmosphere in prisons are not designed to care for psychiatric patients and places a burden on vulnerable inmates. Management of care of the different subgroups in the prison population is therefore necessary on four different levels, from basic health care to forensic psychiatric treatment. A fifth level is forensic care, which is directed towards re-integration into the community rather than treatment at the symptom-level of disease. Continuity of care, evidence-based care and coercion within mental health care are discussed with regard to their forensic ethical meaning towards both patients and the community. Drawing on the Dutch situation a case is made for the promotion of voluntary treatment for those prisoners with mental health problems to aid their rehabilitation and to lessen the risk to the public at large.

, ,,
International Journal of Prisoner Health
Department of Psychiatry

van Marle, H.J.C. (2007). Mental health care in prison: How to manage our care. International Journal of Prisoner Health (Vol. 3, pp. 115–123). doi:10.1080/17449200701321530