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Jails and the Mentally Ill: Issues and Analysis

The report Jails and the Mentally Ill: Issues and Analysis by the California Corrections Standards Authority discusses the importance of having a unified approach incorporating the many disciplines and agencies that share responsibility for working with mentally ill people in local custody.  Multi-agency problems, like those surrounding the treatment of mentally ill, COD and other special needs people in jails, demand multiagency solutions. Other key points from the report include:

— Dialogue is needed with Departments of Mental Health / Behavioral Health, state hospitals, courts and court officers and community based providers of mental health services.
— It is essential for jails to screen incoming inmates for mental health issues and to do more comprehensive mental health assessments of those whose screening identifies serious mental health problems. 
— Jails must make the best possible housing decisions for mentally ill people in custody considering each jail’s unique physical plant design. The priority must always be to place each inmate in the safest unit, room or cell the jail has available.
— Treatment and programming should seek to keep the mentally ill inmate from behaving in ways that are harmful to the individual, staff or other inmates. Among strategies that are currently proving effective in California jails, the paper suggests consideration of designating one or more staff member(s) as liaison or service coordinators for the mentally ill in custody.
— Many California counties utilize Mental Health Courts, which have been shown to be effective in reducing both recidivism and relapse in mentally ill and COD offender populations.
— Interagency discussion is needed about formulary and other medication-related issues.
— Reentry efforts such as reentry deputies and transition teams are cost effective and productive at reducing recidivism.
— Jails are encouraged to seek additional mental health and COD training for custody staff and to train custody personnel with mental health personnel to the greatest extent possible.

Link to Resource: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/COMIO/docs/MENTALLY_ILL_IN_JAILS_PAPER .pdf
Organization: California Corrections Standards Authority
Date: 2009

Category:Sector -> Behavioral health
Category:Sector -> Juvenile justice and corrections
Category:Topic Area -> Mental health and mental health problems
Category:Population -> Homeless
Category:Intervention -> Organizational development
Category:Type of Resource -> Report

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