Objective: Jails need a reliable tool to identify inmates who require further mental health assessment and treatment. This research attempted to revalidate the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen (BJMHS) as such a tool. This research added four items to the original eight-item screen (BJMHS-R), targeting depression and trauma to improve performance of the screen with women.
Methods: BJMHS-R data were collected in four jails from 10,258 detainees. A subset of 464 were administered the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) for cross-validation.
Results: The original BJMHS outperformed the revised screen. The original correctly classified 80% of males and 72% of females on the basis of SCID diagnoses, compared with classification rates of 72% and 66%, respectively, with the BJMHS-R. Overall, the BJMHS identified 16% of screened detainees as needing referral for further assessment, whereas the BJMHS-R identified 22%.
Conclusions: The original eight-item BJMHS is a practical, efficient tool for intake screening by jail correction officers of male and female detainees.