Recent anecdotal reports have suggested that disciplinary segregation in prison is disproportionately used against mentally ill inmates. To date, little research has examined this phenomenon empirically. This study analyzes the impact of a prediagnosed mental illness on the likelihood an inmate is sentenced to segregation following an institutional misconduct in state facilities. Findings suggest that inmates with a mental illness have a higher likelihood of being sentenced to segregation compared with inmates without a mental illness (odds ratio [OR] = 1.36), net of other factors. Further analyses indicate that mentally ill inmates are more likely to receive segregation compared with a range of other less serious disciplinary actions. Practical implications and directions for future research are explored.
Criminal Justice and Behavior, April 5, 2018