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Community re-entry preparation/coordination 

Community re-entry preparation/coordination
Community re-entry preparation/coordination

Henry A. Dlugacz



It has now been 43 years since Justice Marshall wrote the opinion in Procunier v. Martinez;

This updates the US leaders’ viewpoint regarding criminal justice reform based upon a law review article written by President Obama;

Updates the number of people cycling through US jails annually from 13 million to 11 million;

Places the disproportionate penetration of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system in the context of other traditionally marginalized groups;

Includes integrated treatment for mental health and substance abuse as well as psychosocial interventions to areas requiring focus;

Clarifies that while not a major factor in reducing recidivism per se, symptom management is needed so that offenders can engage in the types of treatment which do reduce recidivism;

Adds a study which found that Medicaid access increases use of services but not criminal recidivism;

Adds that further study is needed to match types of interventions with specific sub-groups of offenders with mental illness;

Notes that with the change of US administrations the Affordable Care Act and the related Medicaid expansion discussed may be repealed;

Adds study from hospital settings indicating interventions which improved the likelihood and timeliness of initial contact with outpatient providers after discharge;

Notes the ill-advisedness of releasing offenders with mental illness to the community directly from restricted housing.

Updated on 28 September 2017. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 22 February 2020

The transition from short-term incarceration in jail or longer-term prison sentences back to the community presents substantial challenges for those with mental illness. Approximately 97 percent of all inmates return to the community. This simple reality makes it in society’s enlightened self-interest to be concerned with the readiness of these former inmates to live a productive life. The criminal justice and correctional treatment systems affect an inmate’s behavior and opportunities upon release. Successful reentry planning considers multiple interrelated issues (entitlements, housing, treatment needs, and so forth) when building an individualized plan to address them. It begins at admission (or even sentencing) and continues after release. Rather than considering incarceration to be an isolated event, reentry planning views incarceration as part of a cycle to be disrupted through targeted intervention. Correctional mental health treatment is seen as part of a continuum of care extending to the community. Reentry planning for people with serious mental illness should be a primary focus of correctional mental health care integrated into the treatment function, not an afterthought to be considered only as release is imminent. While acceptance of personal responsibility is a critical antecedent to leading a lawful life, and self-determination a fundamental principle of recovery, it is unrealistic for service providers to rely on the individual to coordinate fragmented public systems. This is the job of those funded to provide services. This chapter presents the current understanding of transition support needs and practices to optimize successful community reentry.

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