Legislators Seek to Block Privatization of Prison Mental Health Services

HARRISBURG — A bill that would allow 27 Pennsylvania state prisons to outsource mental health services has encountered heavy opposition from state legislatures who are saying such action would put local communities at risk.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections proposed the idea, which would contract out as many as 187 mental health positions including 159 licensed psychologists, with the idea that the plan would be a cost-effective method of improving mental health services.

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New Hospital and Mental Health Facility Come Online in Raleigh

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction, opened its new $180 million regional medical center and mental health facility on the grounds of the oldest prison in the state, Central Prison, which dates back to 1884. These adjoining buildings replace outdated medical buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively.

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London To Divert Mentally Ill From Prison

LONDON The first step toward establishing a national service to divert the mentally ill from prison is due to be announced by the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.
The two cabinet ministers will announce they have found $8 million to put into 100 diversion sites across England and Wales as part of their plan to create a national liaison and diversion service by 2014.
The decision is part of ClarkeRead more

Texas County Preps Psych Facility

CONROE, Texas — Montgomery County will construct a 100-bed secure psychiatric facility to house mentally ill offenders committed by state courts after county officials approved a contract with the Texas Department of State Health Services.
County commissioners approved the $7.5 million deal with the state as they prepared a bond issue to cover the estimated $33 million cost of the project, which is designed to address long-term overcrowding at two state psychiatric hospitals.
The initial agreement will cover operational c

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More Than 8,000 Texas Inmates Diagnosed With Major Psychiatric Disorder

GALVESTON, Texas — Authorities should expand specialized interventions and programming to reduce the higher recidivism rates that exist among inmates with major mental illness, according to a University of Texas Medical Branch study.

Inmates with major psychiatric disorders — an estimated 10 percent of the Texas state prison population — are more likely to be incarcerated repeatedly than offenders without mental health issues, according to the study published in the American Psychiatric Association’s Journal of Psychiatry.

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Mental Illness Abounds Among N.Y., Md. Females

WASHINGTON — The prevalence of serious mental illness among female jail inmates is twice the rate of that among male inmates, according to a two-phase study that screened more than 21,000 adult offenders entering five local jails in New York and Maryland.

More than 30 percent of female inmates suffer from at least one serious mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression, compared to 15 percent of male inmates, according to researchers at the Council of State Governments Justice Center.

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