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Managing the Seriously Mentally Ill in Corrections

NCJ Number
John S. Shaffer; Joe Russo; Dulani Woods; Brian A. Jackson
Date Published
May 2019
35 pages
This website summarizes and provides free online access to the full report on a study that identified challenges facing correctional facilities and agencies in managing persons with serious mental illness (SMI), as well as the key needs in improving outcomes for such individuals.
Key findings of the study are as follows: 1) Society as a whole must prioritize mental illness and dedicate resources accordingly, and the justice system must advocate for better access to such services; 2) Individuals with SMI require comprehensive, coordinated services that include interventions that target criminogenic needs; 3) Prevention, early detection, and intervention should be emphasized, particularly for children; 4) Law enforcement personnel must be trained in responding appropriately to incidents that involve persons with SMI, with an emphasis on alternatives to jail; 5) Courts must encourage the development and use of diversion strategies for persons with SMI; 6) Coordinated discharge planning is needed to ensure continuity of care after release into the community; 7) Barriers to sharing information among agencies that serve persons with SMI must be removed; 8) Collaboration among criminal justice and mental health agencies must be improved; and 9) Cost-benefit analyses are needed to ensure that funding for persons with SMI is used effectively. Six recommendations address these identified needs, Access is provided to a related product entitled, "Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative."