80% of Jailed Women Awaiting Trial Have Been Mentally Ill, Study Finds

From Times staff and wire reports

Nearly 80% of 1,272 women detained in jail awaiting trial had a history of mental illness, and 70% had exhibited classic signs of mental illness within the previous six months, according to a new report in the June Archives of General Psychiatry. “Many people have serious mental disorders but they are increasingly being arrested and not treated,” said psychologist Linda Teplin of Northwestern University, author of the study.

A second study, done by sociologist B. Kathleen Jordan of Research Triangle Park, N.C., found symptoms of mental illness in 44% of 885 female felons studied--mostly cases of substance and alcohol abuse complicated by borderline personality disorders. “Jails should be focusing more on providing services for mental illness,” Teplin said.