Individuals with mental illnesses are significantly overrepresented in corrections criminal justice settings. Prevalence estimates of serious mental illness in jails are similarly high. In a study of more than 20,000 adults entering five local jails, researchers documented serious mental illnesses in 14.5 percent of the men and 31 percent of the women, which taken together, comprises 16.9 percent of those studied—rates in excess of three to six times those found in the general population.1 Given the high rates of mental illnesses among the jail and prison populations, and their unique service needs, corrections officials should seek to engage community-based behavioral health care providers to offer pre- and post-release services to people with mental illnesses.
Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project, Council of State Governments Justice Center
The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project is an unprecedented, national effort to help local, state, and federal policymakers and criminal justice and mental health professionals improve the response to people with mental illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system.
- Improving Outcomes for People with Mental Illnesses under Community Corrections Supervision: A Guide to Research-Informed Policy and Practice, Council of State Governments Justice Center (2009)
This report outlines 10 elements essential to mental health court design and implementation and provides background on why each element is important and how courts can adhere to it.
- Prevalence of Serious Mental Illness Among Jail Inmates, Psychiatric Services (June 2009)
This policy brief summarizes the key findings of a study of mental illnesses in jail.
- Overview of the Mental Health Service System for Criminal Justice Professionals, CMHS National GAINS Center, TAPA Center for Jail Diversion (2005)
This publication provides criminal justice professionals with basic information about about the adult mental health service system, and it highlights some of the common challenges for the mental health and criminal justice service systems in meeting the needs of adults with mental illness.
- Best Practices: The Impact of the ‘Incarceration Culture’ on Reentry for Adults with Mental Illness: A Training and Group Treatment Model, Psychiatric Services (2005)
This article describes Sensitizing Providers to the Effects of Correctional Incarceration on Treatment and Risk Management (SPECTRM), an approach to client engagement that is based on an appreciation of the "culture of incarceration" and its attendant normative behaviors and beliefs.
- Working with People with Mental Illness Involved in the Criminal Justice System: What Mental Health Service Providers Need to Know, CMHS National GAINS Center, TAPA Center for Jail Diversion (2004)
This guide seeks to assist service providers working in and across the mental health and criminal justice systems by exploring three primary questions: 1) who are providers serving?, 2) what should providers know about the criminal justice system?, and 3) how can mental health providers work together with criminal justice professionals to best meet the needs of persons with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system?
- Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project Report, Council of State Governments Justice Center (2002)
The Consensus Project Report provides 47 policy statements that can serve as a guide or prompt an initiative to improve the criminal justice system's response to people with mental illness.