Approximately 10-15% of the nearly 6 million offenders in U.S. jails, prisons or on probation or parole, suffer from mental illness. Correctional systems are legally mandated to provide treatment, yet they are overwhelmed with the high costs associated with specialized staff training, the hiring of professional
mental health providers, psychotropic medications and specialized housing.
This article discusses the prevalence of the problem of the continually
increasing numbers of offenders in need of mental health services. The article
also presents the results of a national survey of the chief mental health
administrators for the state correctional systems acrossthe United States. The
survey inquired about the areas of screening, assessment, classification,
treatment services, suicide prevention, aftercare, and general perceptions of
mental/behavioral health services administrators.Comparisons are made
between the State of Kentucky and the rest ofthe nation. The results
indicated that while there are many similarities across
the states, there are some marked differences as well, particularly as they relate to suicide prevention and aftercare.
Soderstrom, I. R., & Smith, S. (2009, Fall). Treatment Policies & Programs for Mentally Ill Offenders: A Comparison of Kentucky and the Nation. Kentucky Justice & Safety Research Bulletin, 9, 36.