Victimization in prison: implications for the mentally ill inmate and for health professionals

Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 1991 Feb;5(1):17-24. doi: 10.1016/0883-9417(91)90005-p.


Despite the focus on the increasing number of mentally ill in prisons and jails, very little actually is known about the psychological effects of prison on this high-risk group. A qualitative study was conducted to explore the inmate subculture and its effect on a person who is mentally ill. Interviews were conducted with 13 subjects who were both inmates and staff members in a forensic halfway house. The results suggest that the victimization that is a way of life within the prison system poses particular problems for mentally ill inmates, whose lack of social and economic resources, dependence, and need for attention make them particularly vulnerable. The implications of victimization of the mentally ill for health care professionals working in prisons also are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / nursing
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Peer Group*
  • Prisoners / psychology*