With 56% of state prisoners, 45% of federal prisoners, and 64% of jail inmates reported to experience disruption to their mental health according to Urban Institute, the debate over how mentally ill inmates should be ‘punished’ is ongoing; Should they face the consequences of their actions? Should those experiencing mental illness face rigorous rehabilitation as opposed to prison time? Should there be a ‘happy medium’, where deterrents and treatment go hand-in-hand?
At Inspired Behavioral Health, our legacy encompasses two core values; To do ‘right’ by the local community, and to deliver expert-led treatment to individuals in our care. With 6 of the 10 states with the least mental health provisions having the highest inmate populations, showing a direct correlation between accessible resources and rates of incarceration, we see mental health rehabilitation facilities as a reflection of both, preserving public safety, unlocking life-changing treatments, and plummeting recidivism rates.
WHAT DO THE STATISTICS SHOW?
There is a distinct discrepancy between the quality of care we’d expect and the reality of life as a mentally ill inmate, with inadequate, inaccessible support rife. 50% of those who are prescribed psychiatric drugs do not receive their medication once they have made their way through intake, and 63% of mentally ill state or federal inmates fail to be provided with mental health treatments while incarcerated; a clear indication that a ‘safety net’ needs to be introduced to catch shortcomings as they occur.
By introducing specialized, individual-led treatments into the criminal justice system, namely psychological testing, substance abuse support, and a combination of tailored treatment programs, we envision an end to the vicious loop inmates find themselves in, as well as incarceration suicide rates to drop from 41 per 100,000 in local jails to become in-line with outside-world rates of 13.93 per 100,000.
HOW TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM RATES?
Ultimately, there is no ‘one size fits all’. Living and breathing our work, we work overtime to develop real-world solutions to transform the 50% of individuals who return to prison within three years of release. We believe in a multi-step solution, exchanging incarceration with focused rehabilitation, exploring law-breaking behaviors, working through traumas, and reeling in wellness.
Given those who experience mental health difficulties see 50% to 230% higher recidivism rates, we’re sticklers for the belief that mental illness is not a crime and should be treated for what it is – an involuntary change to our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, and often, a lapse in proper decision-making.
SHOULD DIAGNOSIS REFLECT TREATMENT?
Absolutely! For the best clinical outcomes, we encourage a tailored approach, starting with neuropsychological testing, before moving forward with a combination of focused treatments and medication. Depression accounts for the most common mental health condition found in correctional facilities, followed by mania, anxiety, and PTSD, with each diagnosis requiring varying levels of support.