Author(s): Horne C, Newman WJ
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Abstract With the number of inmates under the care of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) swelling over the past few decades, California faces a challenge. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their 2011 decision in Brown v. Plata that overcrowding violates inmates' Eighth Amendment rights, specifically that they are denied adequate medical and mental health care. Federally mandated release programs have historically raised some concerns regarding public safety and fiscal efficiency. Given the large number of mentally ill inmates in the United States, alternatives such as assisted outpatient treatment, mental health courts, and increased funding for substance use treatment can be used proactively to reduce the CDCR population and provide long-term solutions to the overcrowding problem. These alternatives have already shown long-term cost savings in addition to reducing the recidivism of individuals involved and would help provide appropriate diversion for mentally ill individuals. © 2015 American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.
This article was published in J Am Acad Psychiatry Law
and referenced in Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education