A Denver sheriff’s deputy walks through the Denver jail in 2014. (RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file)WATCH: The latest news updates on DPTV with Molly HughesThey were punched in the head in fistfights — or shot, knocked around as children, beaten by spouses or struck by cars.Almost every inmate in the downtown Denver jail’s high-risk unit has a traumatic brain injury, so many that what began as a one-time university service learning project has grown into a new therapy program spreading to jails along the Front Range.Neurological researchers from the University of Denver expected to find an above-average prevalence of brain trauma at the Downtown Detention Center. But the results were high enough to shock them. Nearly every inmate screened — 96 percent — had a traumatic brain injury. That’s significantly higher than national statistics showing from 67 percent to 80 percent of inmates in jails and prisons have a traumatic brain injury, and far higher than the estimated 6 percent to 8.5 percent of the general population.The results of the Denver screenings were higher in part because researchers screened inmates kept in a high-risk unit of the jail, the unit for people who are considered a risk to themselves or others. More than 90 percent had mental illnesses, and just as many had substance-abuse problems. Add those two risk factors to the fact that 100 percent of those screened had criminal histories. The combination — criminal behavior, mental illness, substance abuse and traumatic brain injury — is what DU clinical psychology professor Kim Gorgens called the “superfecta.” Inmates who have all four issues are among the hardest to keep from returning to jail and local emergency rooms. “They are tricky to treat, but with some easy tweaks and more surveillance, I think we could keep them afloat better,” said Gorgens, an associate professor in DU’s graduate school of psychology.Gorgens’ graduate students, who needed practice using a traumatic brain injury screening developed at Ohio State University, began interviewing Denver inmates in 2013. They completed a second round of screenings in the summer of 2014. Then, through a partnership with the Colorado Brain Injury Program, the groups secured two grants totaling about $1.5 … – Click Here To Visit Article Source