Mentally Ill Persons in Corrections - NIC Resources
“This white paper presents a shared framework for reducing recidivism and behavioral health problems among individuals under correctional control or supervision—that is, for individuals in correctional facilities or who are on probation or parole. The paper is written for policymakers, administrators, and practitioners committed to making the most effective use of scarce resources to improve outcomes for individuals with behavioral health problems who are involved in the corrections system. It is meant to provide a common structure for corrections and treatment system professionals to begin building truly collaborative responses to their overlapping service population. These responses include both behind-the-bars and community-based interventions. This framework is designed to achieve each system’s goals and ultimately to help millions of individuals rebuild their lives while on probation or after leaving prison or jail” (p. viii). Three parts follow an introduction regarding the need for a framework intended for coordinating services across systems: current responses to individuals with mental health and substance use disorders and corrections involvement—mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, mental health and substance use appearing together, corrections—custody, control, and supervision, screening and assessment, the relationship between behavioral health needs and criminogenic risk/need—assembling the parts, and closing thoughts on RNR (risk-need-responsivity); the framework—strong foundations, criminogenic risk and behavior health needs, application to resource allocation and individual case responses, and goal for the framework’s use; and operationalizing the framework and next steps.
Our nation’s jails, prisons, and community corrections agencies are confronted daily with substantial numbers of persons with mental illness in custody and under supervision. Mental illness in corrections demands an urgency of response, services, and care. Correctional staff have attempted to manage individuals suffering mental illness with varying degrees of success. In searching for meaningful methods of response, some agencies, in partnership with stakeholder communities, have implemented Crisis Intervention Teams (CITs).
CITs have matured from a law enforcement first responder model to new community partnerships with corrections. This team approach incorporates community, frontline law enforcement, and corrections agencies in a collaborative effort to address this growing problem. CITs are effective in enhancing correctional staffs’ knowledge and skills, aiding administrators in improved management and care for a special population, reducing liability and cost, improving community partnerships for increased access to resources and supports, and increasing safety for all.
Participants will be able to:
- Describe the core elements of CIT.
- Describe the benefits of CIT for correctional staff, community stakeholders, persons with mental illnesses, and local criminal justice and mental health agencies.
- Identify ways to sustain a systemwide CIT program supported by key stakeholders and active community involvement.
- Assess agency readiness to start a CIT program and identify resources for implementation.
"[H]istorical , legal, and ethical issues relevant to dealing with mental illness in the field of corrections" are discussed (p. iii). Chapters include: introduction; screening and assessment; mental health and substance abuse treatment; use of seclusion, segregation, and restraints; suicide prevention; treating women offenders; psychopharmacological intervention for psychiatric disorders; transitional services; treatment of special populations (e.g., persons with mental retardation or developmental disability, violent offenders, sex offenders, and older adults); and profiles of three states (Maryland, Oregon, and Texas).
“This guide is organized around policymakers’ common questions about people with mental illnesses under community corrections supervision and the type and effectiveness of strategies designed to respond to this population” (p.3). Sections include: executive summary; introduction; the extent and nature of the problem; strategies to improve outcomes for people with mental illnesses under community corrections supervision; future research questions and implications for policy and practice; and conclusion.
This 3-hour program, originally broadcast July 15, 2009, provides an overview of opportunities that can help your organization prepare to work with persons suffering from mental illness in jails. Mental health issues in the criminal justice system are a community wide problem, and corrections stakeholders, including government officials and corrections personnel, all have a role in identifying creative programs and solutions that tackle the problem at its core. This broadcast investigates the scope of the problem and propose creative solutions from model programs across the nation that you can implement in your own communities.
The objectives of this program are to: identify the stakeholders who need to be involved in designing a successful mental health treatment program; understand the risks and liabilities that not adequately addressing the needs of persons suffering from mental illness poses to the local criminal justice system and the surrounding community; identify collaborative strategies for overcoming system failures in treating persons suffering from mental illness in local communities and along the criminal justice continuum; and implement strategies to leverage existing resources and develop a collaborative action plan involving all stakeholders.
The vignettes and PowerPoint presentation used during this program are included.