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Mental Health Services in a U.S. Prison During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Pandemics pose unique risks to people in correctional facilities. Among other vulnerabilities, incarcerated populations often have high rates of mental disorders and substance use disorders, which may increase risks for morbidity and mortality during a pandemic. California’s San Quentin State Prison (SQSP) experienced multiple outbreaks during the 1918 influenza pandemic, and, a century later, the prison faces a new pandemic. This Open Forum describes the modification of mental health services in SQSP during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors explore the challenges of reducing risks of viral contagion while maintaining high-quality mental health care in a correctional setting.

Authors: Burton, Paul R S; Morris, Nathaniel P; Hirschtritt, Matthew E

Psychiatr Serv. 2021 04 01;72(4):458-460. Epub 2021-01-05.

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