Screening and Assessment of Mental Illnesses

Screening and assessment of individuals in the justice system for mental illness is an important element of effectively managing this population.  Significant guidance on the availability and usefulness of screening and assessment tools is available in Screening and Assessment of Co-Occurring Disorders, published by the National GAINS Center (Peters, et al., 2008)In this publication, the authors assert that "failure to accurately identify offenders with co-occurring disorders often prevents their involvement in treatment or leads to inappropriate placement in treatment (e.g., in less intensive services than are needed), resulting in high rates of criminal recidivism following release from custody and utilization of expensive community resources."  The report also recommends screening instruments—available without cost—for both mental disorders and for substance abuse disorders, and identifies a number of tools that should be avoided.  The document also recommends assessment tools for both mental illness and substance use disorders.

< The Effectiveness
of Mental Health Treatment

Offenders with Substance
Use Disorders