Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Thomas L. Winter

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Stephanie Hamm


ABSTRACT The United States incarcerates more people in correctional facilities than any other country in the world. Studies show 15% of the prison populations have a mental illness diagnosis and 20% of local jail populations have a mental illness diagnosis. These individuals are often arrested because of a misdemeanor crime committed as a direct result of their diagnosis; however, instead of receiving mental health services they are taken into custody, further damaging an already tenuous existence. Traditionally, correctional facilities are geared toward punishment and protection of society, not treatment of mental illness and rehabilitation. Recent trends see a combination of protection of society, consequences for offenders, but also treatment as a way to provide inmates a path to rehabilitation. Treatment of the mentally ill in correctional facilities defines the trajectory of that person’s life. The availability of talk therapy, medications, a combination of treatment programs and mental health court are options which can enhance the quality of life for an individual, rather than incarceration creating a problematic future. The question is: what is the outcome of those who receive mental health services while incarcerated in comparison with those who do not. To investigate the outcome of this question this researcher reviewed 300 files of inmates in the Ada County Jail in Ada County, Idaho to determine the services and treatment programs offered to those with mental illnesses. When reviewing this information, every third file was examined to determine how the treatment, combination of treatments or lack of treatment affected the individual’s ability to stabilize once released from custody.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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