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Improving Psychiatric Care for Prisoners
J. Frank James; Dick Gregory
Psychiatric Services 1980; doi:
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Oklahoma Department of Mental Health Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

While psychiatry has been ambivalent about treating mentally ill offenders, recent mandates for better mental health care for prisoners will require the profession's intervention. The authors, whose study of mental health care needs of inmates in Oklahoma is reported in the article following this one, believe that because the prison is a community, a community-mental-health-like system offering a continuum of services is indicated. Some of the services they propose for prisons include outpatient and partial hospital services, an acute inpatient unit, a residential tertiary care unit, and an intermediate living unit. They also believe that mental health professionals should help improve the environment of prisons, and can do so by sharing lessons learned in their own institutional settings about the effects of a therapeutic community and a legitimate patient government.

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