Police Executive Research Forum

A report is available that examines the issue of management of jail inmates who experience mental illness and promising approaches to the problem.

The report, Managing Mental Illness in Jails: Sheriffs Are Finding Promising New Approaches, is a result of a conference in April 2018 where participants discussed key issues associated with the care and housing of inmates with mental illness. Conference participants included sheriffs, jail administrators, other correctional and mental health professionals, and community-based health care providers.

Participants examined approaches that sheriffs’ offices are employing to better manage mental illness in their jails, according to the report. These include:

  • Diversion strategies that keep some individuals accused of low-level, nonviolent offenses out of jail and instead place them in community-based programs that are better positioned to provide the type of treatment services that these individuals need.
  • Early screening, identification and classification of prisoners with mental health disorders.
  • Effective housing systems in jails that promote safety for inmates and staff, and help minimize costs.
  • New approaches to providing mental health services that include partnerships with community-based service providers, the use of a broader array of medical professionals and innovations such as telepsychiatry.
  • Reintegration programming that helps prepare individuals with mental illness for returning to the community

To read the report, click here.

About The Author

The Justice Technology Information Center is a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System, a program of the National Institute of Justice. JTIC serves as an information resource for technology and equipment related to law enforcement, corrections and courts, and hosts the NIJ Compliance Testing Program, a voluntary equipment standards and testing program for ballistic- and stab-resistant body armor and other officer safety equipment, which conducts equipment testing, reviews and analyzes testing data and disseminates results.

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