The mentally ill in jails and prisons: towards an integrated model of prevention

Psychiatr Q. 2001 Spring;72(1):63-77. doi: 10.1023/a:1004862104102.


Jails and prisons have become a final destination for persons with severe mental illness in America. Addiction, homelessness, and fragmentation of services have contributed to the problem, and have underscored the need for new models of service delivery. Project Link is a university-led consortium of five community agencies in Monroe County, New York that spans healthcare, social service and criminal justice systems. The program features a mobile treatment team with a forensic psychiatrist, a dual diagnosis treatment residence, and culturally competent staff. This paper discusses the importance of service integration in preventing jail and hospital recidivism, and describes steps that Project Link has taken towards integrating healthcare, criminal justice, and social services. Results from a preliminary evaluation suggest that Project Link may be effective in reducing recidivism and in improving community adjustment among severely mentally ill patients with histories of arrest and incarceration.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders* / prevention & control
  • Mental Disorders* / psychology
  • Mental Disorders* / rehabilitation
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Mental Health Services / trends
  • Models, Organizational
  • Preventive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prisons*
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States