Why I ended the horror of long-term solitary in Colorado’s prisons

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Why I Ended the Horror of Long-Term Solitary in Colorado’s Prisons By Rick Raemisch, Colorado Department of Corrections Director and Equitas National Advisor In Colorado, long-term solitary confinement used to be a tool that was regularly used in corrections. The problem is that it was not corrective at all. It was indiscriminate punishment that too often amounted to torture and did …

Dallas leverages data to address behavioral health needs of inmates

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In Dallas, the technology and clinical services company HarrisLogic is attempting to solve this problem using data-driven tools to determine the appropriate behavioral health services for prisoners. By pooling information from jails, police departments, emergency services, mental health and social services, courts, and hospitals, the company has saved Dallas County $30 million over the course of four years. The majority …

Davis resident graduates Mental Health Court

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Yolo County, California District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on Monday, June 11, 28-year-old Davis resident Jessie Tessler graduated from Mental Health Court in Department Six of the Yolo County Superior Court. Mental Health Court is a minimum 18-month court-based treatment and monitoring system for adult offenders with serious mental illness. Mental Health Court is designed to increase the treatment …

Study after study shows ex-prisoners would be better off without intense supervision

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In a recent review of the literature on prisoner reentry, Brookings Institution Nonresident Fellow Jennifer Doleac summarized the best evidence on how to improve the lives of the formerly incarcerated. One of the most striking findings was that reducing the intensity of community supervision for those on probation or parole is a highly cost-effective strategy. Several studies of excellent quality and using a …

Why This Man Crusades For Mental Health After Nearly 30 Years In Prison

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“Society is not taking this issue seriously,” Thad Tatum says of the mental health needs of formerly incarcerated people. An estimated 20 percent of people in jails and 15 percent in state prisons have a serious mental illness, according to a paper compiled by the Treatment Advocacy Center. Resources for these conditions aren’t always available during incarceration or upon release …

Baltimore is mired in violent crime. Could part of the solution be found in reclaimed wood?

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The U.S. Forest Service has quietly launched a “matchmaking” effort to connect non-profits employing formerly incarcerated workers who deconstruct abandoned buildings in big metropolises such as Baltimore with private companies looking for a dependable supply of reclaimed lumber. Agency officials say the partnerships could go a long way  toward reducing the scourge of violent crime while decreasing the number of ex-offenders …

Infamous Pizza Hut break-in shines light on mental illness

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When Richard Lee Quintero called 911 and told the dispatcher he was Jesus Christ — and then confessed that he’d just broken into a High Point Pizza Hut, eaten a pizza and drunk a Mountain Dew — the story went viral almost immediately. Ironically, the incident happened four days before Palm Sunday — the date was March 21 — and …

They’re Out of Prison. Can They Stay Out of the Hospital?

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As the country tries to shrink its aging prison population, the inmates being released after years locked away often have mental illnesses and addictions that can land them back in prison if untreated. Peer health workers are central to an approach connecting former inmates to services and helping them navigate life outside. “We’ve always known incarceration is bad for health,” …