Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing


Estimates of mental illness among jail inmates vary. There is, however, strong evidence that six to 15 percent of jail populations are mentally ill and in need of mental health services (Teplin, 1986; Teplin, 1989). The need for an assessment tool which had the ability to identify the most severe mental illnesses was studied utilizing methodological research. The analysis examined two groups for similarity of findings. The data were produced by examining descriptives through a Q-sort. Five mental health categories were identified for study. They were violent behavior, disruptive behavior, mental retardation, self-destructive behavior, and altered thought processes. Correctional officer professionals and mental health professionals examined 100 descriptives which were representative of the five categories. Two hypotheses were examined. Five items from each of the five mental health categories would be identified with least 70% agreement between the two professional groups. There would be no difference in agreement levels of classification of items between mental health and correctional professionals. The findings supported both hypotheses. The purpose of this study was to develop a tool with the potential of alerting jail personnel of the presence of an inmate with a severe mental illness.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Prisoners -- Mental health



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright