A Comparison of Pre-Arraignment Court Detainees Identified as Mentally Ill by Police Versus Those Not Identified

Nahama Broner, New York University
Stacy S. Lamon, New York City Dept. of Mental Health
Hon. Martin G. Karopkin, City of New York, Kings County
Damon Mayrl, New York University

While the population characteristics of mentally ill jail detainees are well documented, little has been written about this population at the pre-arraignment stage of criminal justice processing, and only anecdotal information is available regarding New York City. This paper presentation will briefly map the arrest to arraignment process and then focus on results from a study of two groups: 1) a random sample of 312 men and women who were pre-arraignment detainees prior to their appearance at a New York City evening arraignment court, and 2) a sample of 50 police identified "Emotionally Disturbed Persons". Each subject completed a structured diagnostic interview, measures of alcohol and drug use, psychiatric symptom severity, and a comprehensive psychiatric, psychosocial, medical, legal, and service needs interview. Collateral police bookng and arrest information was also collected; prior to index arrest history, one year follow-up arrests, and court dispositions were analyzed. Building upon preliminary significant findings for group differences for a number of psychiatric, legal, and psychosocial variables, we will present results from analyses of the study's sub-samples (those which psychiatric diagnoses who were police designated, those with psychiatric diagnoses who were not police designated, and those wsith no diagnosis). Implications for policy and mental health court diversion programs will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006