Violence Behind Bars: A Tie to Mental Illness

AMARILLO — The most violent prisons in the Texas state system share a common factor: They house a high proportion of mentally ill inmates.

The Texas Tribune analyzed violent-incident data from 99 state prisons from 2006 to 2012, and found far more incident reports at facilities housing high numbers of mentally ill, violent offenders than at other prisons.

It is not surprising that prisons with a greater proportion of mentally ill inmates would have more violence than others, said Michele Deitch, a prison conditions expert at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. But ...

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