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Homelessness and Indicators of Mental Illness Among Inmates in New York City's Correctional System
David Michaels; Stephen R. Zoloth; Phil Alcabes; Charles A. Braslow; Steven Safyer
Psychiatric Services 1992; doi:
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The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Roland Ledo and Judith Rosen in data collection and Christine Johnsen, Eran Bellin, and Ezra Susser in planning and conducting the research. The study was carried out by the epidemiology unit of the Montefiore-Rikers Island Health Service and was supported in part by a grant from the Aaron Diamond Foundation. Computer support was provided by the City University of New York Computer Center. The research was approved by the institutional review boards for human subjects the Montefiore Medical Center and the New York City Department of Health and met federal guidelines for research in jails and prisons.

City University of New York Medical School, Room J-14, New York, New York 10031

Montefiore-Rikers Island Health Service of Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine; department of community health at Hunter College School of Health Sciences of the City University of New York

department of epidemiology and social medicine

Montefiore Medical Group of Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Montefiore-Rikers Island Health Service

1992 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Data from three cross-sectional samples of inmates in the New York City correctional system (N= 299, 236, and 151) were analyzed to determine the prevalence of homelessness among detainees. One-fourth to one-third of each sample had been homeless at some time during the two months before arrest, and 20 percent of the primary sample of 299 inmates had been homeless the night before arrest. Further analysis of the primary sample showed that homelessness was strongly associated with mental illness: 50 percent of those who had ever been homeless during the past three years responded positively to at least one mental illness screening question, compared with 25 percent of the never-homeless inmates. More than a third of the ever-homeless group had received mental health treatment, compared with a fifth of those who had never been homeless.

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