Research Reports - History of traumatic brain injury in prison populations

Ann Phys Rehabil Med. 2017 Mar 27. pii: S1877-0657(17)30025-8. doi:
10.1016/j.rehab.2017.02.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Durand E(1), Chevignard M(2), Ruet A(3), Dereix A(4), Jourdan C(5), Pradat-Diehl
P(6).

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to cognitive, behavioural and social
impairments. The relationship between criminality and a history of TBI has been
addressed on several occasions.OBJECTIVE: The objective of this review was to
present an update on current knowledge concerning the existence of a history of
TBI in prison populations.
METHODS: PubMed and PsycINFO databases were searched for relevant papers, using
the PRISMA guidelines. We selected papers describing TBI prevalence among
incarcerated individuals and some that also discussed the validity of such
studies.
RESULTS: Thirty-three papers were selected. The majority of the papers were on
prison populations in Australia (3/33), Europe (5/33) and the USA (22/33). The
selected studies found prevalence rates of the history of TBI ranging from 9.7%
and 100%, with an average of 46% (calculated on a total population of 9342).
However, the level of evidence provided by the literature was poor according to
the French national health authority scale. The majority of the prisoners were
males with an average age of 37. In most of the papers (25/33), prevalence was
evaluated using a questionnaire. The influence of TBI severity on criminality
could not be analysed because of a lack of data in the majority of papers. Twelve
papers mentioned that several comorbidities (mental health problems, use of
alcohol…) were frequently found among prisoners with a history of TBI. Two papers
established the validity of the use of questionnaires to screen for a history of
TBI.
CONCLUSION: These results confirmed the high prevalence of a history of TBI in
prison populations. However, they do not allow conclusions to be drawn about a
possible link between criminality and TBI. Specific surveys need to be performed
to study this issue. The authors suggest ways of improving the screening and
healthcare made available to these patients. 

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