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    Mental Health, Drug Abuse, & Re-arrest

    People with mental health issues are known to be re-arrested. Numerous people across multiple studies as far back as 15 years ago to date were arrested many times during the observation of the various studies I’ve examined, including an individual who was arraigned 71 times during almost a decade. The data suggest that achieving successful reintegration in some cases proves difficult. Re-entry and recidivism are not new and have been adequately studied, and plenty of factors have been recognized that seem to add to the failure of people reintegrating into their community from jails and prisons specifically, people with mental health conditions. I came across another study by the United States Department of Justice titled Lessons Learned from the Second Chance Act: Moving Forward to Strengthen Offender Reentry. And I’ve learned that the challenges that the individuals deal with who are leaving corrections are facing circumstances that are intimidating and difficult to deal with and are even more disheartening for persons who have complicated psychiatric and substance abuse drawbacks. 

    The underlying issues are universal, many people reentering back into their communities don’t feel prepared for life outside jail or prison after being incarcerated for 6 months or longer, especially after spending time in solitary confinement. I spoke with serval men and women before pre and post-release and discovered that 10 of the 40 people, 1 in 4, I interviewed stated they were nervous and felt like they would fail in our society and 20 of the 40, 50%, of the individuals claimed they would be homeless, have no support system and don’t know how they would be able to take care of themselves once they were discharged from jail or prison. 

    People that have psychiatric illnesses can also have many difficulties with re-entry and re-arrest because the psychiatric treatment provided in the jails and prison are inadequate. The likelihood of a person having a successful transition into their community after incarceration is highly compromised because of the lack of sufficient psychiatric treatment. Various factors such as not meeting regularly with a Psychiatrist or having a medication regimen designed to maintain the mental health and well-being of the patient works against those individuals leaving jails and prison. Bad enough these individuals hold the triple stigma of being criminals, mentally challenged, and drug abusers. Even worse, they are released back into the same slum, drug-infested, high crime, impoverished community, like Terrace Avenue, Hempstead, NY. Only increasing their chances of falling victim to criminal activity, drug use, or making poor decision. With formerly incarcerated people being placed in these situations it should be understandable why they are violated by probation or parole or engage in abusing drugs, committing crimes and recidivate. Also, consider the fact that a great percentage of these individuals released will experience homelessness and face many obstacles as far as securing employment, making it hard for them to take care of their essential needs, children and families. 

    Novel programs must be established to connect the people transitioning pre and post-incarceration with DSS for housing, food assistance, and Medicaid to pay for mental health and substance abuse services. 

    If we fail to prepare those locked-up, we are practically contributing to the high crime rate, recidivism, and ignoring public safety. We must collaborate to focus on targeting mental health, drug abuse, crime, and secure funding for local mental health and criminal justice systems that support the development of efforts to prevent recidivism, mental health issues, crime, and drug abuse of persons from poorer communities. We need to identify inmates with mental health issues, drug abuse history, and criminogenic needs that are 2 years, no less than 6 months release, and start a transitional plan that will set them up for success by providing their essential needs, like providing identification, treatments services, medication regimen, housing, job training and placement and more. We must work intensively with inmates during the pre and post-release phase to increase the rate of successful re-entry and preventing recidivism. #BLOCWORK

    By: Jamar Jackson

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    Johnathan Perez says (Apr 3, 2021):

    I love your work! Thanks for sharing. Many people won't say the things you say because they don't have the heart! Keep them coming brother! Speak the truth! People say dumb mess because they never been locked up ever and they sound real silly. They have a different experience with the system then you and I have. We been on both sides, as a violator and a citizen. They will never understand. That make them prejudice, not racist just prejudice meaning they prejudge us because of our past. To bad for them,

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