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ISU study says mental illness is a big problem among women inmates

By By Jake Taylor
Published On: Oct 25 2012 10:54:19 PM CDT

ISU study says mental illness is a big problem among women i

POCATELLO, Idaho -

A study run by and ISU professor shows jails are lacking when it comes to helping women with mental problems.

The study by Shannon Lynch, Ph.D. looked at women inmates in five states, and found those in Idaho jails had the greatest amount of serious mental illness.

"Such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders,” Lynch said.

Bannock County Jail was one of the institutions included in the study.

Sheriff Lorin Neilson said he's seen programs and resources for the mentally ill get often over the years.

"This state is very, very poor in its funding of mental issues,” Nielson said.

Bannock County Jail does have a psychiatrist, able to diagnose and dispense medication, but not a lot of resources for more involved treatment

"The net unfortunately is going to be criminal justice. It's not something that I like seeing. We're not equipped to be able to handle mental issues,” Nielson said.

According to the study, those psychological problems are keeping crowds of women returning to jail.

"These were women who were going through cycles of coming into jail, being released, coming into jail, being released. And given that we know that, we're looking for ways to intervene, something that might prevent that cycle from continuing,” Lynch said.

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