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Mental health intervention research in Latin American correctional settings: A scoping review

Beigel, Lukas, Forrester, Andrew ORCID:, Torales, Julio, Aboaja, Anne, Rivera Aroyo, Guillermo, O'Higgins Roche, Marcelo, Opitz-Welke, Annette and Mundt, Adrian P. 2023. Mental health intervention research in Latin American correctional settings: A scoping review. International Journal of Social Psychiatry 69 (7) , pp. 1560-1577. 10.1177/00207640231174372

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Background: The Latin American prison population has grown faster than anywhere else globally over the past two decades, reaching a total of 1.7 million people at any given time. However, research on mental health prevention and treatment interventions in Latin American prisons remains scarce. Aims: This study aimed to systematically review and synthesize research on prison mental health interventions conducted in the region. Methods: We used a two-stage scoping review design guided by the JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis. Searches took place in December 2021 in nine databases using descriptors and synonyms. First, all prison mental health research in Latin America was retained. Secondly, using title and abstract screening, all research possibly related to interventions was retained for full text evaluation. Studies reporting interventions were assessed by country, language, institution, population, intervention type, intervention focus and outcomes. Results: N = 34 studies were included in this review. These were 13 case reports, seven expert consensus papers and 14 quantitative studies (four randomized controlled trials, nine cohort studies, one quasi-experimental study). Fourteen interventions were targeted at promoting prosocial behavior, seven studies each aimed to improve mental health and to treat substance use disorders. Six studies involved the treatment of sexual offending behavior, and 3 focused on reducing criminal recidivism. Psychoeducation (n = 12) and motivational interviewing (n = 5) were the most frequent intervention types studied. Promising data from trials showed that anger management, depression, substance use and reoffending could be successfully addressed through interventions. Conclusions: Implementation and effectiveness research of mental health interventions in Latin American prisons is scarce. Addressing mental health, substance use and prosocial behavior outcomes should be considered in future research. There is a particular dearth of controlled trials describing quantifiable outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0020-7640
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 10 April 2023
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2023 17:45

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