African-Caribbean men remanded to Brixton Prison. Psychiatric and forensic characteristics and outcome of final court appearance.
Bhui K., Brown P., Hardie T., Watson JP., Parrott J.
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 men with schizophrenia who 'fall out of care', who are not diverted back into care and are therefore unnecessarily remanded.