Prevalence of Traumatic brain injury among female offenders in France. Results of the Fleury TBI study
Dr Eric DURANDa, Mrs Laurence WATIERb, Dr Anne LÉCUc, Dr Michel FIXc, Dr Jean-Jacques WEISSd, Dr Mathilde CHEVIGNARDe, Prof Pascale PRADAT-DIEHLf
a Service de MPR. Fondation hospitalière Sainte Marie, b Inserm, U 657, Paris, France, c UCSA des maisons d’arrêt de Fleury-Mérogis. Sainte Geneviève des Bois, France., d Centre Ressources francilien du traumatisme crânien. Paris, France., e Service de Rééducation des pathologies neurologiques acquises de l’enfant. Hôpitaux de Saint Maurice. Saint Maurice, France., f Service de Médecine physique et de réadaptation. Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière. Paris, France.
Introduction: Traumatic Brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health concern. The vast majority of studies about TBI and criminality have included male offenders and little is known about females. That could be explained by the fact that females represent a very small proportion of prisoners. In the general population most reports on TBI also refer to males because they represent 3/4 to 2/3 of subjects who sustained a TBI. This study examines the prevalence of TBI among a population of females offenders.
Aims: To establish the prevalence of self-reported TBI in a female prison population, to compare the prevalence of TBI among this population and the general population, and to discuss the possible links between TBI and criminality.
Methods: All female offenders consecutively admitted in Fleury-Mérogis prison, during a 3 months period were included in the study. During the routine admission procedure they were interviewed by health care staff. Information and consent were given orally. The questionnaires were completely anonymized.
Results: 100 questionnaires were analyzed with a population of 88 adult females and 12 juveniles. The prevalence of a self-reported history of TBI was 21%. The first cause of TBI among females was violence related (35%) and the large majority had sustained repeated TBIs. Prevalence of self-reported epilepsy was 6.8% for adult females. Psychiatric care was reported by 11.4% of females. Nearly a fourth of females received anxiolytic treatment (23.9%) whereas 13.6% were on antidepressant treatment. Adult females used more alcohol than cannabis (21.6% versus 12.5%). Daily or regular use of alcohol and cannabis were found in 9.1% and 4.6% respectively.
Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first study to report the prevalence of self-reported TBI among prisoners in France and in particular among female offenders. As described in the literature, women are at higher risk of TBI from domestic violence. Research in this area should focus on prevention measures.
Keywords : traumatic brain injury, prison, epilepsy, prisoner