Improving Access To Care And Reducing Involvement In The Criminal Justice System For People With Mental Illness
Author: Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Haiden A. Huskamp, Lainie Rutkow, Colleen L. Barry
People with mental illness make up a disproportionate share of the criminal justice–involved population. The passage of critical new reforms affecting health care for vulnerable populations under the Affordable Care Act and the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 presents unique opportunities to transform systems of care and avert criminal justice involvement. In addition, state and local jurisdictions have implemented a number of strategies to divert people with mental illness from the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism. In this article we summarize current knowledge about the involvement of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system and consider the recent opportunities presented by national and local policies that aim to lower the proportion of such people who are incarcerated.