Mentally ill elderly jail detainees: Psychiatric, psychosocial and legal factors
Relatively little research has focused specifically on elderly offenders with severe mental illness. This study assessed psychosocial and legal issues in 83 male detainees, age 62 and above, who were hospitalized on a psychiatric forensic unit. This group included 38 Non-Hispanic whites, 31 blacks, 12 Hispanics, and 2 from other groups. Forty percent were diagnosed with a psychotic disorder. A series of chi-square tests found that patients charged with nonviolent crimes were more likely to report experiencing delusions. The victims of these alleged violent acts were primarily family members. There was no significant association between ethnic background and severity of legal charge or having a competency evaluation ordered. Suicidal ideation and thought disorders were more prevalent in nonwhite mentally ill elderly jail detainees.