SOAR Works for Individuals Involved in the Criminal Justice System

This issue brief, developed by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, provides an overview of resources and reentry tools that SOAR providers can apply to support individuals involved in the criminal justice system who have disabling conditions and are reentering the community. Tens of thousands of people with disabling conditions do not have the means to pay for essential behavioral or physical health treatments when released into communities. As a result, these individuals are more likely to be arrested multiple times for the same crime, spend more time in jail, and serve longer sentences.

The practices and supports outlined in this issue brief direct local corrections and community transition staff with cross-system reentry strategies for people with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders to promote post-release success.

This brief provides an overview of the following:

  • The connections between serious mental illness, homelessness, and incarceration
  • What happens to Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits when a recipient becomes incarcerated
  • The role of SOAR in reentry planning
  • Best practices for increasing access to SSI/SSDI benefits for people with serious mental illness who are reentering communities from jails and prisons

Implementing SOAR requires the collaboration of correctional staff, behavioral health partners, and community providers. For individuals interested in learning more about implementing SOAR in criminal justice settings, the SOARWorks’s Criminal Justice Tools webpage can be a valuable resource. The webpage offers methods for identifying SOAR applicants, a sample SOAR referral tool, and a SOAR stakeholder team matrix. Each resource is designed to work with individuals in contact with the criminal justice system.

This resource was first shared in 2019.

(External Link, Publication, PDF, 679 KB)

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