Numerous studies indicate that incarcerated populations are at high risk of having mental health or substance abuse problems. In 2005, more than half of all jail and prison inmates in the U.S. had a mental health problem, and research suggests that inmates of county jails have the highest rates of mental health symptoms or recent history of mental health issues. In addition, local jails often hold mentally ill persons pending their movement to appropriate mental health facilities. This project will investigate how rural jails manage the mental health and substance abuse problems of their inmates, including providing direct services, contracting for services, and planning for post-discharge services. Through analysis of the National Survey of Jails and semi-structured interviews with state-level and county-level/local officials, barriers to providing such services will be assessed and promising practices will be documented. Findings will be disseminated to state and local corrections officials, as well as rural mental health stakeholders.
Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy
Role of Local Jails in the Rural Mental Health System
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