Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Maine Rural Health Research Center

Mental Health Services in Rural Jails

Abstract: 

Using a qualitative approach, this study explored the role of rural jails in the mental health systems in rural communities, investigating how rural jails manage mental health and substance abuse problems among inmates, determining barriers to providing mental health services faced by rural jails, and identifying promising practices for service delivery. Rural jail administrators and mental health providers understood the need for mental health services for jail inmates but were constrained by inadequate community mental health resources, lack of coordination with community mental health providers, and infrastructure challenges including facilities, transportation, training, and legal processes. Promising practices included short-term hold policies, separation of inmates with mental health concerns, and regular communication among stakeholders.

Publication Type: 
Working Paper
Publish Date: 
August 30, 2010
URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/rural/Rural-Jails-Mental-Health.pdf

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

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