Home > Psychiatric morbidity in the male sentenced Irish prisons population.

Duffy, Dearbhla M and Linehan, Sally A and Kennedy, Harry G (2006) Psychiatric morbidity in the male sentenced Irish prisons population. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 23, (2), pp. 54-62. 10.1017/S0790966700009587.

Background: This is the first epidemiologically representative cross-sectional study of psychiatric morbidity using research diagnostic instruments in sentenced prisoners in Ireland.

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity and psychiatric service requirements.

Method: We interviewed 340 men serving a fixed sentence (14.6% of total) and 98 men serving a life sentence (82% of total). Prisoners were drawn from 15 different prisons using a random stratified sampling method. Mental illness and substance misuse was measured using the SADS-L, SODQ and a structured interview to generate ICD-10-DCR diagnoses.

Results: We found a high prevalence of mental illness. Our six month prevalence for psychosis (2.7%) was similar to an international meta-analysis. We found a significantly higher prevalence of psychosis in life sentenced prisoners (6.1%) compared to fixed sentenced prisoners (1.8%). Drugs and alcohol problems were very prevalent.

Conclusions: Using the six month prevalence figures found for psychosis, we estimate that there are approximately 79 sentenced male prisoners with a severe mental illness who would require treatment in hospital additional to current provision. We discuss the relationship between drug availability and the prevalence of severe mental illnesses in prisons.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Article
Drug Type
All substances
June 2006
Page Range
pp. 54-62
Medmedia Group
Accession Number
HRB 4300 (Available)
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