Article

Collaborations Between Criminal Justice and Mental Health Systems for Prisoner Reentry

William Penn University, Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
Psychiatric Services (Impact Factor: 1.99). 07/2006; 57(6):875-8. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.57.6.875
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study assessed reentry programs throughout the nation for people with mental illness who were leaving prisons or jails and developed a classification of service strategies based on practices that are emerging in the field in response to this need.
A national survey identified service strategies that assist people who are incarcerated in prisons or jail and have a mental illness reenter the community. Data were used to develop a typology of reentry service strategies.
Fifty-eight reentry programs were identified. Program descriptions were developed for 50. Findings supported the use of a 2x2 typology of initiatives, with one factor being whether the criminal justice or mental health system initiated the program and the other being the degree of collaboration between the two systems.
If the funding trend indicated by this survey continues, the criminal justice system will become a primary funder of treatment services for offenders with mental illness who are returning to the community. No one knows how this shift in funding will affect the provision of mental health services.

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    • "Despite their contribution to the linkage between diversion and reentry research, Sung and Belenko's study is limited by the restricted number of correlates examined . In addition to background and personal factors, recent advances in reentry scholarship have pointed to the need of exploring the role of healthcare needs (Wilson & Draine, 2006) and social environments (Bales & Mears, 2008; Mears, Wang, Hay, & Bales, 2008), which should also be taken into consideration in diversion research. "
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    • "In other words, mentally disordered offenders are not merely mentally ill individuals unable to survive without breaking the law, rather, these mentally ill individuals appear to think and process information as criminals. Although the criminal justice system has become the " defacto mental health system " (e.g., Holton, 2003; Wilson & Draine, 2006), a notion that offending among persons with serious mental illness is principally a function of their psychiatric symptomatology would be inaccurate. In fact, mentally disordered offenders in this study endorsed criminal thinking at a rate consistent with incarcerated offenders who are not mentally ill (see Walters, 1995; Walters & Geyer, 2005). "
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    • "). Furthermore, even if Medicaid is approved, myriad cultural and organizational disconnects between correctional, behavioral health, and social service systems may serve to further isolate ex-prisoners with multiple problems (Wilson & Draine, 2006). Prison provided an environment with a bed and food—necessities that ex-prisoners are very suddenly without. "
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