Probable posttraumatic stress disorder in a sample of urban jail detainees



Dawn Ruzich, Jessica Reichert, Arthur J. Lurigio

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

12 March 2014



This study examined the nature and extent of probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among men in a substance abuse treatment program in a large urban jail. Specifically, it explored the prevalence of probable PTSD and other psychiatric problems among jail detainees, the types of trauma detainees experienced during different phases of their lives, and how those experiences might have contributed to the development of probable PTSD. Results showed that psychiatric problems were quite serious; nearly one-quarter of the sample reported previous psychiatric hospitalization, and nearly 10% were being currently treated with psychiatric medication. In addition, 21% of the sample met the criteria for probable PTSD, a rate five times greater than that in the general population. The current study suggests that the presence of probable PTSD among male detainees should be incorporated into the creation and implementation of jail-based behavioral healthcare services, including screening, assessment, and clinical interventions. Furthermore, in-custody drug treatment programs should adopt trauma-informed strategies for all program participants as the expected standard of care.




Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee