/Treatment expands for inmates with mental health, drug issues

Treatment expands for inmates with mental health, drug issues

The Mississippi Departments of Corrections and Mental Health announced Friday that the state will be receiving a $647,461 grant. This grant will help reduce the number prisoners who re-enter the corrections system. It will also help treat substance abuse and mental disorders in a community setting. According to the agencies, the Second Chance Act Reentry Program For Adults With Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders and Mental Disorders will be available starting Oct. 1. Marshall Fisher, the state corrections commissioner said that “our state is in desperate need of programs that offer ex-offenders integrated care that will improve both their functioning and outcomes when returning to their communities.” “Therefore, the Department of Mental Health approached us about supporting their efforts to obtain this grant,” Marshall Fisher, state corrections commissioner, said. A 2010 report by the Treatment Advocacy Center (based in Virginia) found that jail was home to three times as many mentally ill individuals than hospitals. These findings were supported by a Public Citizen study that was published last month by the Treatment Advocacy Center in Washington, D.C., and Washington-based Public Citizen. It involved interviews with jail staff from 39 states, including Mississippi. According to Mississippi corrections officials, 3,194 Mississippi inmates are receiving mental health treatment. Another 15,000 prisoners report having had alcohol or drug abuse experiences. Diana Mikula is the executive director of the state’s mental health department. She said that the program would make it easier for prisoners to access the services. Mikula stated in a press release that she believes individuals with co-occurring mental illnesses and substance use disorders are a group of people who may have struggled accessing the services they need. The program will be focused on 90 residents of Hinds County in the state’s most populous.