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Validation of the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen

NCJ Number
Date Published
Henry J. Steadman Ph.D., Jack E. Scott Ph.D., Fred Osher M.D., Tara K. Agnese M.A., Pamela Clark Robbins B.A.
This study evaluated the validity of a revision of the Referral Decision Scale (RDS) entitled the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen (BJMHS).
Overall, the results indicated that the BJMHS is effective for the mental health intake screening of male detainees but has an unacceptably high false-negative rate for female detainees. Among the sample who were also administered the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID), the BJMHS correctly classified 73.5 percent of males and 61.6 percent of females. The BJMHS identified 11.3 percent of the total sample for further mental health screening. Given these findings and the fact that the BJMHS takes an average of 2.5 minutes to administer and requires only modest training to use, the authors conclude that the BJMHS can be effectively used to screen men booked into jails throughout the country. The authors recommend that additional questions measuring anxiety be added to the BJMHS for women. Participants were 10,330 detainees from 2 jails in Maryland and 2 jails in New York who were administered the BJMHS upon jail intake over the course of an 8-month data collection period. A subset of 357 detainees were also administered the SCID as the standard for cross-validation purposes. Future research should focus on the development of a cost-effective jail intake screen for women. Table, references
Date Created: August 19, 2014