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Background: African-Caribbean men are over-represented in psychiatric and forensic services and in the prison population. A failure of community services to engage mentally ill African-Caribbean men and their presentation through the criminal justice system culminates in a repeated pattern of forensic service and criminal justice system contact. Method: We carried out a cross-sectional survey during a one-year period of a sample of potentially mentally ill men remanded to HMP Brixton in south London. Men were interviewed to establish their place of birth, first language, socio- demographic profile, ethnicity, psychiatric diagnosis, levels of alcohol and substance misuse, criminality, violence involved in their index offence, past psychiatric and forensic contacts and outcome of court appearance. Results: Two hundred and seventy-seven men were interviewed. In comparison with White men, African-Caribbean men were more often diagnosed as having schizophrenia and were more often sent to hospital under a mental health act order. African-Caribbean men were remanded in custody despite more stable housing conditions and more favourable indices of lifetime criminality, substance misuse and violence. Conclusions: Community services, including diversion schemes, should be especially sensitive to African-Caribbean care who are not diverted back into care and are therefore unnecessarily remanded.

Original publication

DOI

10.1192/bjp.172.4.337

Type

Journal article

Journal

British Journal of Psychiatry

Publication Date

01/01/1998

Volume

172

Pages

337 - 344