Mental Health Providers’ Attitudes About Criminal Justice–Involved Clients With Serious Mental Illness – 2018

Community mental health providers’ attitudes toward criminal justice–involved clients with serious mental illness were examined.

A total of 627 Maryland psychiatric rehabilitation program providers responded to a survey (83% response rate). Measures assessed providers’ experience with, positive regard for, and perceptions of similarity, with their clients with serious mental illness. Chi-square tests were used to compare providers’ attitudes toward clients with and without criminal justice involvement.

Providers reported lower regard for criminal justice–involved clients than for clients without such involvement. Providers were less likely to report having a great deal of respect for clients with (79%) versus without (95%) criminal justice involvement. On all items that measured providers’ perceived similarity with their clients, less than 50% of providers rated themselves as similar, regardless of clients’ criminal justice status.

Future research should explore how providers’ attitudes toward criminal justice–involved clients influence service delivery for this group.

Sachini N. Bandara, M.S., Gail L. Daumit, M.D., M.H.S., Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Ph.D., Sarah Linden, M.P.H., Seema Choksy, M.P.P., Emma E. McGinty, Ph.D., M.S.
Psychiatric Services, Volume 69, Issue 4, April 01, 2018