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 …

When medication is essential to mental health

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 44.7 million adults in the U.S. currently live with mental illness, 19.2 million of whom are receiving treatment in the form of counseling and prescription medication. Still, in casual conversation, the mentally ill are often derided. Phrases like “what are you, off your meds?” and “stop acting crazy” serve as reminders that mentally …

Opinion: How to Have a Better Conversation About Mental Illness

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Much good has come of the increased willingness to discuss mental disorders. There is greater acceptance than in the past that mental illness is real and common, and that when it arises, its causes are complex and cannot be explained away as weakness or lack of character. All of this is vital in reducing stigma, which in turn encourages people …

What happens when schoolchildren live in violent neighborhoods?

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The effects are broader than previously known, a study finds. Researchers have shown — and teachers know — that schoolchildren exposed to neighborhood violence can have a tougher time learning, experiencing more stress and depression than their peers growing up in safe neighborhoods. But a Johns Hopkins University sociologist discovered that the consequences of neighborhood violence reach further than previously known, …

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 …

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 …

Our 2 Kinds of Criminal Justice, and How to Reconcile Them

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What is justice? Center for Court Innovation’s Greg Berman says: Micro justice focuses on individual people and asks, “What is an appropriate response to the circumstances presented by this specific case?” Macro justice looks at the bigger picture, examining social impacts, both positive and negative, and tries to determine whether they have been distributed in a way that conforms to …

The Largest Health Disparity We Don’t Talk About

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Americans with depression, bipolar disorder or other serious mental illnesses die 15 to 30 years younger than those without mental illness — a disparity larger than for race, ethnicity, geography or socioeconomic status. It’s a gap, unlike many others, that has been growing, but it receives considerably less academic study or public attention. The extraordinary life expectancy gains of the …

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 …

Meet Your DA: From FreeAmerica

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The title of the elected prosecutor in your state may vary across states — district attorney, state attorney, county attorney, commonwealth attorney — but their responsibility to uphold justice remains the same. The power of prosecutors reaches across communities, into the courtroom, and all the way up to the State Capitol and ballot box. They have the power to decide …