An accumulating body of research data points to the disproportionate presence of persons with mental illness in America's jails. Preventing the jail detention of people with mental illness has become an agreed-upon goal for actors in both the mental health and criminal justice systems. Toward that end, a variety of ‘jail diversion’ mechanisms have been developed to move people with mental illness who commit low-level misdemeanors away from the criminal justice system and into the mental health treatment system. Despite the increasingly widespread adoption of these programs, there is a lack of empirical data on their effectiveness, although ‘myths’ regarding these programs abound. This paper describes these programs, offers empirical data on their effectiveness, provides an overview of the challenges they face, and suggests future directions for research.
Desai, R. (2002), "Jail diversion services for people with mental illness: What do we really know?", Fisher, W. (Ed.) Community-Based Interventions for Criminal Offenders with Severe Mental Illness (Research in Community and Mental Health, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 99-121. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0192-0812(03)80019-3Download as .RIS
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