Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bad or Mad?

In the general population, 5% of men and 2% of women suffer from 2 or
more mental disorders.

Amongst prisoners, the rate is 72% of men
and 70% of women.


  1. I think that amount is rather strange as there are round about 85'000 men and around 4'500 in prison :) in the uk

    Your a researcher where is your evidence.

  2. sorry typo
    think that amount is rather strange as there are round about 85'000 men and around 4'500 women in prison :) in the uk

  3. Ben didn't want his references cluttering the post, but the source is the report "Reducing Reoffending" by the Social Exclusion Unit, 2002. He assures me that he doesn't make this stuff up! - Editor.

  4. Quite understandable that Ben wouldn't know this, but one of the joys of the blogging community is that it is very good at citing sources and tends to get a bit sniffy about people who don't. We have a word for people who write stories and don't give citations, they're called "journalists", it's not a term of endearment ;)

    As for the mental illnesses, how much of this is brought on by being imprisoned?

  5. It is something that shocks me.

    I know of many people who have mental illnesses and am shocked when they do something stupid out of frustration and desperation and then go to prison for it. It is so wrong.

    There isn't enough psychiatric resources available for people, prison is just bound to make things worse.

    The ones that I know to whom this has happened are very vulnerable, they are not very able to stick up for themselves.

    Those who are aware of the injustice of it find it very hard to help them.

  6. The statistics are shocking, really, it means that the majority of people in prisons now have mental illnesses.

    This is bound to make overall prison conditions very volatile.

    As well as there being very vulnerable, painfully withdrawn and shy people affected by mental illnesses, there is the other end of the spectrum, those who find it hard to sleep for example and believe they have superhuman capabilities.

    They can be extremely frightening, at times have huge strength and are also unpredictable.

    Psychiatric disorders are not treated properly, there is massive under funding of resources to deal with people who are suffering.

    It is a low priority as it is still a stigmatizing condition to have.

    It shows how community care leaves a lot to be desired.

    People might have gone to a hospital before, they now go to jail, some progress!

  7. Like your comment Wigarse, about journalists!

    I would think being imprisoned for long periods would add to anyone's poor mental health. Thos people in prison with an indeterminate sentence must be going completely mad - not knowing if, or when, they will ever get out!

    Make a special effort to be nice to someone who may have a mental health problem - every little helps.

    Ben - please keep writing - you help to keep me sane.


  8. I often read your blog from Belgium and I'm quite interested in your story.
    Yours sincerely

  9. As was hinted at above, the key question is whether the mental illness precedes imprisonment or is induced by prison conditions.

    I have no sources to cite, but my feeling is that the illness is an underlying pre-existing condition.

    Either way, it is a disturbing figure.

  10. I think all of Ben's readers may be interested in our new film -the Fear Factory looking at the way we treat young people in the criminal justice system.

    Ben - I hope you don't mind an unabashed plug for a good cause.