Study finds gender disparities for inmates with HIV

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Provision of adequate access to physical and psychiatric health care for current inmates. In the largest study of inmates with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapy, Yale researchers uncovered significant differences in HIV treatment outcomes for men and women in the justice system. Their findings point to the need for gender-specific HIV prevention strategies for incarcerated individuals.  Click HERE to read the full article. Study available at: “Sex-Related Disparities in Criminal Justice and HIV Treatment Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Study of HIV-Infected Inmates.” American Journal of Public Health. e-View Ahead of Print.

President Obama on Criminal Justice Reform

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders. 

POTUS Tweet

President Obama is on board for real, lasting criminal justice reform.   You can see the entire speech, given to the NAACP, at this link.

Will you JOIN us?

A Brief Cost Analysis of Arkansas Mental Health and Prison Reform

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders.

1. Introduction and Background

The past decade has begun to see a shift in the system of incarcerating mentally-ill persons in Arkansas and across the nation. Based on a number of empirical studies and public-policy reviews, states have begun to question the long-standing reliance on secure confinement of offenders with mental-health issues, its effect on public safety, and on the person’s ability to join society as productive and contributing members of their community in the future.

In Arkansas a wide cross-section of those involved with administering both criminal justice and mental-health care – judges, prosecutors, police, state agency heads, mental-health advocates, families, and the patients themselves – have been able to meet and agree on a number of changes to the former system of “arrest and commit.” A primary focus of their efforts has been the design of a diversion process that places a mentally-ill offender in a treatment program rather than the criminal-justice system. This reform approach would increase the use of community-based alternatives like probation, community service, smaller therapeutic residential programs, and crisis centers.

While widespread agreement about the need for mental-health and prison reform has been achieved, less is known about the exact costs and benefits of these reforms. How will different actions by the courts or state agencies affect the state’s budget for mental-health care and for processing offenders? If cost savings are achieved, how much money may be available for more effective alternatives that help mental-health patients become reestablished in their communities?

Our research found that one year’s worth of trial and jail time for each mentally-ill person costs the state about 20 times as much as crisis treatment and counseling for the same person with mental problems. These are average comparisons, and the national data indicate that the costs of keeping prisoners with mental illness are more expensive than average prisoners; this ratio could be 25:1 or higher. Based on the current jail and prison populations, this could mean savings of millions of budget dollars from the costs of adjudication and incarceration by local and state agencies. – 4 –

It appears that Arkansas has thousands of prisoners with mental-health issues who are receiving less than appropriate care when better medical and mental-health care could be provided at a fraction of the current cost per inmate.

Before we address the financial issues of prison reform and the mentally ill, the next chapter highlights some of the issues that have been addressed by other cities, counties, and states that have been restructuring their mental-health systems to address these problems.

Please CLICK HERE to review the entire study.

 

Vermont’s Prison Chief Says It’s Time to Decriminalize Drug Possession

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE: Decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders.

According to an article published in SEVEN DAYS:

The DOC commissioner has been following news reports from Portugal, which in 2000 decriminalized all drugs and has since recorded declines in drug abuse and overdose deaths. He’s decided it’s a brave example that Vermont should emulate.

“We should go to the Portugal model, which is to deal with the addiction and not spend the money on the criminal justice system,” Pallito said. “We spend so much money on corrections that could be done differently. The only way to do it is spend less on corrections and more on treatment.”

Click HERE to read the entire article.

Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Approves Grant for Allegheny County Mental Health and Justice Housing

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform (PfCJR) CORE ISSUE:  Decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders.

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) Chairman Josh Shapiro’s announced that PCCD approved $149,995 for the Allegheny County Mental Health and Justice Housing Program. This award is a joint funding effort between PCCD and the Department of Human Services Office of Mental Health Substance Abuse Services.

“This project, and projects like it, is an important part of our mission to reduce recidivism rates by identifying those individuals with mental health and addiction issues and get them the help they need so we can prevent their return to the criminal justice system,” said Chairman Shapiro.

Click HERE to read the entire article.

Juvenile offenders to get victim screenings

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform (PfCJR) CORE ISSUE:  Reform of the juvenile justice system to identify and divert at-risk youth. Statistics reported by the National Institute of Justice that an abused or neglected child has a 59 percent better chance of being arrested as a juvenile and 28 percent better chance as an adult.

HEA1196 will require intake officers at juvenile delinquency facilities to screen minors to determine whether they also are a “child in need of services,” a term used in cases of abuse, neglect or other home problems.

Click HERE to read the full article.

Juvenile incarceration yields less schooling, more crime

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Reform of the juvenile justice system to identify and divert at-risk youth.

A new article on the study is published in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics. The co-authors are Doyle and Anna Aizer, an associate professor of economics and public policy at Brown University.

The study looks at cases involving 35,000 juvenile offenders over a 10-year period in Chicago. The Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago created a database on social programs in the state of Illinois that made the research possible.

Indeed, the research project, which studied the long-term outcomes of tens of thousands of teenagers in Illinois, shows that, other things being equal, juvenile incarceration lowers high-school graduation rates by 13 percentage points and increases adult incarceration by 23 percentage points.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-06-juvenile-incarceration-yields-schooling-crime.html#jCp

Smart Justice — Begins With Health Equity

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform (PfCJR) CORE ISSUE:  Decriminalization of Mental Health and Addictive Disorders

From the Huffington Post:  As reported by The Treatment Advocacy Center, “Approximately 20 percent of inmates in jails and 15 percent of inmate’s state in prisons have a serious mental illness.” As to substance use, data reveals an estimated 75 percent of inmates have a substance use disorder and over 70 percent of those with serious mental illness have co-occurring disorders. It is no surprise that according to the RAND Corporation, prison reform and reentry efforts must provide access to primary and behavioral health treatment and services in the community to succeed.

Click HERE to read the entire article.

Treatment Research Institute Announces Increased Adoption of Court Risk and Needs Triage Tool

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders.

Research findings demonstrate that outcomes in community correctional settings are influenced by how well drug and DUI-involved offenders are matched to community based treatment services and criminal justice supervision based on their levels of risks and needs. By classifying offenders into one of four risk/needs quadrants, the tool provides research-based recommendations for the most effective and efficient level of criminal justice supervision and behavioral health care. Courts in more than 30 states have adopted this tool. – See more at: http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/06/10/743534/10138012/en/Treatment-Research-Institute-Announces-Increased-Adoption-of-Court-Risk-and-Needs-Triage-Tool.html#sthash.Ddcol9sW.dpuf

 

Kalief Browder suicide a call to action against U.S. justice system

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Reform of the juvenile justice system to identify and divert at risk adolescents.

On June 6, 2015, Kalief Browder committed suicide.  As a 16 year-old, he was imprisoned at Rikers Island for three years and subjected to solitary confinement for nearly two years.  While Kalief’s experience in the juvenile justice system contributed to the ultimate negative health outcome, hundreds of thousands of other youth are being subjected to similar practices and experiencing resultant long-lasting health consequences.

A fact from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention:  the suicide rate is reported to be 21.9 per 100,000 young people in juvenile justice facilities, approximately three times higher than peers in the general population (Gallagher & Dobrin 2006).