Date Thesis Awarded

5-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Public Policy

Advisor

Paul Manna

Committee Members

Jennifer Mellor

Graham Ousey

John McGlennon

Abstract

How do community and sociopolitical factors influence mental health care delivery and inmate health outcomes in prisons and jails? This study examines the underlying variation in psychiatric and mental health care delivery in U.S. correctional facilities. In particular, I examine community demographics and partisanship at the state and county levels, to assess the impact that external factors have on the delivery of correctional psychiatric and mental health care services. Prior literature neglects to establish a relationship between the sociopolitical context of correctional facilities, and their ability to deliver psychiatric and mental health services. This literature, instead, focuses on general rehabilitative services which includes education, vocational training, and drug treatment programs. I expand upon this work by including a critical rehabilitative service, mental health and psychiatric programs. In assessing this relationship, I use public U.S. Department of Justice survey data on public correctional facilities in 2000, as well as the U.S. 2000 Census General Demographic Characteristics. This research is particularly important because mental and psychiatric illnesses are disproportionately represented within the criminal justice system, consequently making correctional facilities the largest mental institution. It is necessary to highlight the reasons for underlying variation in service delivery, so policymakers can address potential health disparities and improve equitable access to resources.

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