Guidelines for Successful Transition of People with Mental or Substance Use Disorders from Jail and Prison: Implementation Guide

The purpose of this guide is to provide behavioral health, correctional, and community stakeholders with examples of the implementation of successful strategies for transitioning people with mental or substance use disorders from institutional correctional settings into the community. The guide is intended to promote jurisdictional implementation of the Assess, Plan, Identify, and Coordinate (APIC) guidelines through the identification and description of various strategies that have been adopted in efforts to facilitate successful community reentry for justice-involved people with mental and co-occurring substance use disorders.

Jails and prisons house significantly greater proportions of individuals with mental, substance use, and co-occurring disorders than are found in the general public. While it is estimated that approximately 5 percent of people living in the community have a serious mental illness, comparable figures in state prisons and jails are 16 percent and 17 percent, respectively. The prevalence of substance use disorders is notably still more disparate, with estimates of 8.5 percent in the general public (aged 18 or older) but 53 percent in state prisons and 68 percent in jails. The high prevalence of mental and substance use disorders in correctional settings produces poorer outcomes for both affected individuals and correctional agencies.

The framework presented in this publication directs behavioral health, justice system, and community stakeholders to work collaboratively across systems to design and implement evidence-based programming to further the dual goals of individual recovery and risk reduction. This guide serves as a direct successor to the publications Guidelines for the Successful Transition of People with Behavioral Health Disorders from Jail and Prison (updated in 2019) and A Best Practice Approach to Community Re-Entry from Jails for Inmates with Co-Occurring Disorders: The APIC Model. The APIC model provides guidance to assist jurisdictions in program design and implementation. This implementation guide offers 10 guidelines operationalizing these 4 components of the model to achieve better results for correctional systems and people with mental or substance use disorders rejoining the community.

This resource was first shared in 2017.

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