Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Released inmates need programs to meet basic, mental health needs, study shows

Date:
January 6, 2014
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
When inmates with severe mental illness are released from jail, their priority is finding shelter, food, money and clothes. Even needs as basic as soap and a place to bathe can be hard to come by for people leaving jail, according to a new study.

When inmates with severe mental illness are released from jail, their priority is finding shelter, food, money and clothes. Even needs as basic as soap and a place to bathe can be hard to come by for people leaving jail, according to a new study from Case Western Reserve University's social work school.

Related Articles


"Reentering the community after a period of incarceration in jail is a complex situation," said Amy Wilson, who researches jail and prison issues, and even more difficult for inmates who suffer from a major mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia.

Wilson conducted the study to learn why inmates with mental illnesses don't take advantage of available mental-health services after release. She used ethnographic research techniques to follow along with the day-to-day activities of clients and staff from a reentry program that helped inmates with mental illness transition from jail to the community.

As part of this study Wilson also surveyed 115 participants in this program prior to their release to ask them about what types of help they would need after release. When surveyed, housing topped the list of priorities for 65 percent, followed by 35 percent who needed money to start a new beginning. Only 12 percent said treatment for their mental health was one of their top two priorities.

Her findings were reported in the Qualitative Health Research journal article, "How People With Serious Mental Illness Seek Help after Leaving Jail."

According to Wilson, It's been long known in the social work field that people need food and housing to survive and seek to fill those needs first, but sometimes these basic needs get overlooked when building programs to address complex problems, such as those facing people with mental illness exiting jail.

Jails, unlike prisons, house offenders serving short-term sentences or those awaiting trial. Therefore releases from jails are more unpredictable then prisons, allowing less time for planning and transitional services, Wilson said.

The problems associated with the transition from jail to the community is also compounded by a general assumption within the correctional system that family and friends will house and care for released inmates, said Wilson, who has found the reality, for some, is quite different.

Some inmates lose everything they own while in jail, including a driver's license and social security card, she said. And once released, access to their apartment or house might be lost as well.

While observing inmates for this study, she saw some released during winter wearing summer clothing. One woman was released wearing see-through pajamas. Other inmates reported having no money or a place to go.

The transition from jail to community requires inmates to navigate a number of social service systems such as public assistance, public mental health, and substance abuse services. But Wilson found that even released inmates with case managers advocating for them experienced a lot of difficulty obtaining the services they needed. Wilson also found that only 40 percent of the program's clients ever engaged in long term received mental health services.

"Eventually people gave up on the system," she said.

Wilson believes the study should serve as a reminder to social workers and policymakers about how difficult the transition can be for released inmates. To have people take advantage of mental health services, their basic needs must be met first, she said.

And since we as a society have assumed some responsibility for seeing to the care and treatment of people with serious mental illness, Wilson stated that we must ensure that we are seeing to both their basic and treatment needs during the critical transition from jail to community.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Amy Wilson. How People With Serious Mental Illness Seek Help after Leaving Jail. Qualitative Health Research, january 2014

Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Released inmates need programs to meet basic, mental health needs, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106103737.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2014, January 6). Released inmates need programs to meet basic, mental health needs, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106103737.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Released inmates need programs to meet basic, mental health needs, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106103737.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins