Blinders to Comprehensive Psychiatric Diagnosis in the Correctional System

  • Richard L. Grant

There are challenges in providing adequate mental health services to prisoners, but the task is not insurmountable. This chapter focuses on the issues related to full and accurate psychiatric diagnoses as an underpinning to comprehensive treatment. Another focus is on the attitudes and biases about mental disorders held by correctional staff, health professionals, and the inmates themselves. These are inextricably bound to a contemporary understanding of the complexities of multiple coexisting psychiatric diagnoses in a given individual These attitudes can lessen the acceptance of mental disorders as disorders of brain function. The reality of budgetary constraints is an additional difficulty that needs to be redressed, but not here. This chapter aims at the importance of accurate delineation of the mental disorders that bring suffering to those patients and the correctional staff in the form of inner mental anguish and outwardly disordered and disruptive behavior. I posit that a fuller awareness, understanding, and acceptance of this issue could provide an impetus for change in the allocation of resources toward accurate mental health diagnosis leading to more effective treatment. Going beyond the correctional system to any psychiatric care setting, accurate psychiatric diagnosis in each mental health care recipient is the gateway to comprehensive and effective treatment. Throughout this chapter, the term psychiatry, unless otherwise specified, is used in its broadest context to include all mental health care personnel involved in the process of screening, assessment, and treatment of individuals with mental disorders. Secondarily involved are all health care providers in any system where mental disorders are prevalent. All may be blinded to varying degrees from a truly comprehensive view of the impact of mental disorders on the behavior and emotional distress of the persons for whom they have clinical responsibility. These blinders may prevent appropriate referral for a psychiatrist’s scrutiny.


Mental Disorder Traumatic Brain Injury Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Single Photon Emission Computerize Tomography Mental Health Care 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Grant
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Illinois School of Medicine at PeoriaPeoriaUSA

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