Guidelines for the Successful Transition of People with Behavioral Health Disorders from Jail and Prison

This presentation was prepared by Henry J. Steadman, Ph.D., of Policy Research Associates; Fred Osher, M.D., director of health systems and services policy at the Council of State Governments Justice Center; and Steve Allen, M.S.S.W., executive director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Services at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The presentation offers guidance on using community-based resources to assist justice-involved persons with mental and substance use disorders during re-entry into the community following incarceration. Each year, approximately 650,000 individuals are released from federal and state prisons; 30 percent of those released from state prisons will recidivate within their first 6 months in the community. To reduce this number, resources that enable individuals’ independence and recovery should be made available and accessible to them following involvement with the justice system. Establishing universal guidelines for the transition of individuals during re-entry to the community aids this effort, promoting effective evidence-based practices to support better outcomes.

Three principles are essential for community-based organizations to consider when assisting individuals with their re-entry into the community. The first principle is risk—matching the intensity of interventions to an individual’s dynamic risk of justice reinvolvement. The second principle focuses on meeting an individual’s needs that, if unaddressed, increase the chances of reinvolvement with the justice system. The last principle requires providers to be responsive to the individual’s learning style, culture, abilities, and motivation.

This resource was first shared in 2013.

(Presentation, PDF, 3.66 MB)

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