Toward research-informed policy for high risk offenders with serious mental illness

People with mental illness are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system (Fazel & Danesh, 2002). Approximately 1 in 7 men (15%) and 1 in 3 women (31%) detained in jails in the U.S. suffer from such serious and often disabling illnesses as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression (Steadman, Osher, Robbins, Case & Samuels, 2009). The vast majority experience co-occurring substance abuse disorders (see Prins & Draper, 2009). Many of these men and women become inextricably entangled in the criminal justice system.