Assessing needs for psychiatric treatment in prisoners: 3. Comparison of care received by black and minority ethnic prisoners and by white prisoners

  • Nigel McKenzie
  • Helen KillaspyEmail author
  • Sharon Jakobowitz
  • Hamidi Faranak
  • Paul Bebbington
Brief report



To investigate to what extent mental health treatment needs are met in white and black and minority ethnic (BME) prisoners.


Treatment needs of a random sample of male (n = 197) and female (n = 171) prisoners were assessed with standardised instruments. Interventions provided were confirmed through face-to-face interviews and case note review.


BME prisoners comprised 44% of participants. Treatment for depression, personality disorder and alcohol abuse was more often needed by White than BME prisoners. Needs were more frequently met in White than BME prisoners (48.5% vs 38.2%; p < 0.05), largely due to the delivery of psychological treatments.


BME prisoners had fewer of their mental health needs met.


Mental disorder Prisoners Treatment needs Ethnic differences 



This study was funded by the National Forensic Mental Health R&D Programme (Ref. MRD 12/83).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was obtained from the Thames Valley Research Ethics Committee (Ref. 05/MRE 12/52), in line with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of PsychiatryUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.School of Population Health and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences and MedicineKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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