Mental Health Services and the American Inmate: A Systematic Review of Literature


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Ande Nesmith


In this systematic review, I synthesized literature regarding the effectiveness of current correctional mental health and substance use programming in the United States. Using Social Work Abstracts, Criminal Justice Abstracts, SocINDEX, and PsychINFO, 17 quantitative studies meeting criteria for the review were then analyzed. Themes identified included recidivism as an indicator of program success, therapeutic community treatment, and aftercare following correctional treatment. The studies included in this review found moderate levels of effectiveness of corrections based programming for adult inmates with mental health and substance use disorders and overall lower re-incarceration rates for offenders engaged in correctional treatment, but suggests a need for additional studies on both in-custody and post-custody programming for inmates with mental health and substance use disorders.


correctional mental health, prison, jail, mental health services

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.