Managing Mentally Ill Offenders in the Community With Sort-Term Intervention

Dale K. Sechrest, California State Univ. - San Bernardino

ABSTRACT
Fifteen California counties are completing demonstration projects under the Direction of the State Board of Corrections that are designed to reduce the return of mentally ill offenders to jail detention. As one of the projects, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and Department of Behavior Health are jointly implementing the San Bernardino Partners Aftercare Network (SPAN) project, which involves multi-agency cooperation to link mentally ill inmates to mental health services in the community upon their release from jail. About 10 to 12 percent of the inmates in detention at any time are diagnosed as mentally ill. Jail Mental Health Services processes about 250 mentally disordered offenders each month, many who are also involved in substance abuse. Evaluation goals include to determine if short-ter, intervention reduces subsequent returns to jail and days in jail or psychiatric in-patient services over a three year period, and if it can do so for individuals with particular types of diagnoses or background characteristics. A cost-benefit evaluation is also being completed. Preliminary findings suggest that short-term intervention alone does not reduce returns to jail.

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Updated 05/20/2006