At a recent North Dakota Justice Reinvestment Oversight Committee meeting, CSG Justice Center staff highlighted recent decreases in prison admissions that resulted from alcohol and drug offenses and probation revocations. These declines seem to be the cause of a 6.5-percent drop in the state’s total prison population in FY2018, which exceeded expectations, and have reinforced the state’s efforts to increase behavioral health services for people in the criminal justice system.
What constitutes success is ensuring that, whenever possible, youth receive supervision and services that support them to avoid further contact with the justice system and transition safely to adulthood.
“Kids don’t belong in prison. We know from the data that when children are incarcerated they usually become repeat offenders,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “This data-driven review will help us provide youths the best chance to successfully transition to a crime-free, productive adulthood.”
“Part of the success of this has been an openness to identifying how we can do things differently in our community when it comes to mental health care and the criminal justice system,” said Paula Verrett, a NAMI recovery specialist who has worked directly with the OCMHC since its inception.
“I’ve been in and out of jail for the last 20 years, and this [group] taught me it was time to grow up and stop doing the things I was doing,” Rich said. “Having people who care about how you’re doing and who can lift your spirits is important.”
In most states across America, education for teen offenders pales in comparison to what they’d receive on the outside. Just one third mandate that these kids meet the same standards as their public school counterparts. Massachusetts is one of them, and there the goal is to save these young offenders with vocational classes and good old reading, writing and arithmetic.
Michael Thompson, director of the CSG Justice Center, examines the results of a recent evaluation of a federal reentry program and asks: What happens when a program or policy championed by data loyalists doesn’t yield the positive results they’d hoped for?
In this episode of The Diane Rehm Show, Dr. Fred Osher, director of health systems and services policy at the CSG Justice Center, joins the discussion on efforts to help people with mental illnesses stay out of jail and get into treatment.