This act provides allows a judge to use discretion when sentencing a veteran or servicemember, who has been diagnosed with a mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder and who is charged with a non-violent offence to undergo a counseling/treatment program rather than be sent to jail. However, if an individual does not complete the program they can then be sentenced to jail time.

On February 10, federal judges granted California two more years to reduce its already overcrowded prison population. The ruling comes from a long-running lawsuit to increase inmate medical care in the state. California still sits about 5,000 inmates above the cap that was originally set by the court, which means they must bring their prison population to around 112,000 inmates by February 2016.

February 2014 ~ Stateline Midwest »

In 1977, South Dakota’s state prisons held just 550 inmates. Over the next 35 years, however, that population would multiply six times — and, in the process, drive costs through the roof.
By 2011, the state’s corrections budget was more than $100 million and had quadrupled in 20 years. And the prison population was projected to grow by another 25 percent in 10 years, with costs increasing to the tune of $224 million.

The CSG Justice Center released a new policy brief that outlines opportunities for states and localities to improve public health and safety outcomes and reduce spending on corrections and health care services by maximizing the appropriate use of Medicaid coverage for people involved with the criminal justice system. People in prisons and jails often have complex and costly health care needs, and states and local governments currently pay almost the entirety of these individuals’ health care costs. In addition, as many as 70 to 90 percent of the some 10 million people released from prison or jail each year are uninsured. The majority of these individuals have little or no access to health care services and experience gaps in continuity of care, which are associated with poor health outcomes and increased recidivism, particularly among those with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

The appropriate use of federal Medicaid dollars to help expand health care coverage for individuals involved with the criminal justice system presents an opportunity to achieve reductions in state and local spending, while minimizing known health and public safety concerns associated with reentry following incarceration. However, opportunities to maximize and maintain Medicaid enrollment for eligible individuals in this population, and especially to make use of Medicaid to finance certain types of care provided to those who are incarcerated, have been largely underutilized by states. This brief provides an overview of opportunities to expand health care coverage, as well as access to and continuity of care; improve public health and safety outcomes for individuals involved with the criminal justice system; and reduce state and local expenditures on corrections and health care. <--break->

October 2013 ~ Stateline Midwest

It didn’t take long for Michigan legislators to take notice of a state Supreme Court study examining the efficacy of mental health courts. Less than a month after the study’s release, the House unanimously passed a four-bill package (HB 4694-4697) that statutorily creates mental health courts, thus paving the way for judicial circuits across the state to operate them, Mlive.com reports.

Adults with behavioral health disorders are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. The Criminogenic Risk and Behavioral Health Needs Framework provides a starting point for corrections, mental health and substance abuse professionals to make better decisions to improve public health and safety outcomes.
 

This webinar examined trends and corresponding state policies to address the most dramatic change in the U.S. prison system, one that is having far-reaching effects on all components of the criminal justice system: the increasing number of elderly inmates. 

This webinar examined trends and corresponding state policies to address the most dramatic change in the U.S. prison system, one that is having far-reaching effects on all components of the criminal justice system: the increasing number of elderly inmates. 

As America’s baby boomers continue to age, the justice system is having to change to meet the needs of a very different kind of prisoner. “We are in fact moving toward a geriatric justice system, whether we want to formally call it that or not,” said Ronald Aday, a professor of sociology and anthropology at Tennessee State University who studies gerontology and prisons. He was one of the featured speakers for a recent CSG South webinar “Aging Inmates: The Continual ‘Graying’ of America’s Prisons.”

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