Is mental illness associated with placement into solitary confinement in correctional settings? A systematic review and meta‐analysis [2020]

The aim of this meta‐analysis was to examine the association between any mental health problem and the risk of being placed into solitary confinement in correctional settings. PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science and Google Scholar were searched from each database’s inception date to November 2019. All publications assessing both mental health problems and placement into solitary confinement in a sample of adult inmates in correctional settings were included. The meta‐analysis was performed using random‐effects models. Heterogeneity among study point estimates was assessed with Q statistics and quantified with I 2 index. Publication bias was assessed with funnel plots. Guidelines from Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses (PRISMA) were followed throughout. After screening 2777 potential studies, 11 studies were included amounting to a total of 163 414 inmates. Included studies comprised of a mix of mental disorders rather than a specific diagnosis per se. The odds ratio (OR) from the pooled studies was 1.62 (confidence interval (CI) = 1.21–2.15). The observed relationship remained unchanged regardless of the removal of outliers (OR = 1.63, CI = 1.47–1.80) and regardless of the adjustment of confounders (OR = 1.58, CI = 1.32–1.88). The present study shows a moderate association between any mental health problem and placement into solitary confinement within a considerable sample of inmates. As more individuals suffering from mental illness enter the correctional system, it is essential that correction officials create new safe interventions to manage these inmates and offer them proper mental health care to limit the use of solitary confinement, which may have deleterious effects.

Laura Dellazizzo PhD Candidate Mimosa Luigi MSc Candidate Charles‐Édouard Giguère MSc Marie‐Hélène Goulet PhD Alexandre Dumais MD PhD FRCPC
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, Volume 29, Issue 4, August 2020