Placement in restrictive housing is often an attempt to protect inmates, but it can have the opposite effect, particularly for those who suffer from mental illness. The problem is twofold: not only can solitary and restricted conditions exacerbate mental health conditions, the lack of access to treatment and programming further disrupts existing issues and can even create new ones.
Case planning: It’s an art. It’s a science. It’s a tough job. Pulling together a plan that sets the right goals on the right timeline supported by the right programming sounds as elusive as painting the perfect crooked smile on the Mona Lisa, and in a way, it is. But with skill, experience, and supportive programming, it can be done.
You’ve implemented a risk and needs assessment. Your team is using the data to inform decision-making. Now what? To maintain the health of your agency’s evidence-based practice and find out how effective your efforts are at reducing recidivism, your assessments require assessments of their own. As soon as you have enough data, your agency needs to launch a Validation Study, and then a few years after that, an Outcomes Study.
Some suicides can’t be prevented, but it’s our responsibility to try. Jails today are facing lack of funding, lack of resources for treating substance abuse issues and mental illness, and myriad other challenges that make it difficult to meet every inmate’s needs, but when it comes to suicide prevention, we have to stay vigilant.
For decades, the primary way jails and prisons have attempted to mitigate this elevated risk and keep mentally ill inmates safe was to keep them separated from the general population. This makes sense: When vulnerable inmates aren’t exposed to potential predators, they’re substantially less likely to be victimized.
Risk and needs assessments have come under a lot of scrutiny in the justice sector, and it’s not uncommon for our clients to get questions from their stakeholders about their use of assessments in evidence-based practice. We’ve compiled a list of the top five questions we hear and straightforward answers to help you educate others and demonstrate why assessments are helping you advance justice in your community.
Much of the pretrial reform debate centers on one key question: Should this individual be released or detained? However, the second-most important question is the most overlooked: How? How do we know our approach is working to deliver fair practices? If the individual is released, what pretrial services should they receive? If they’re detained, how should they be housed?
When used the right way, data is powerful. The data collected on your web browsing habits (probably) aren’t going to change the world, but the data you collect and use as a supervision professional can mean the difference between helping—or inadvertently harming—your community. THAT’s powerful.
Jails were never supposed to be detox centers. They weren’t designed as treatment providers. As jails see more and more people suffering from substance abuse disorders walk through the door, we’re facing an uncomfortable reality: We weren’t supposed to, we weren’t designed to, and yet WE ARE a primary change agent in the fight against addiction in our country.
Pretrial decisions can have heavy consequences. Individuals involved in the pretrial phase of the justice process are considered still-innocent of any crime, so the decisions that are made must be weighed carefully. Pretrial reform is a hot topic in our country today, and the use of a risk assessment during the pretrial phase is under great scrutiny.