This study assessed transitions to community mental health services among individuals with co-occurring disorders upon release from jail.
Data from jail and public mental health systems in Wayne County, Michigan, were merged to identify 677 individuals diagnosed as having a serious mental illness and substance use disorder who had been jailed a total of 1,774 times over 48 months starting in 2003.
Only 33% of incarcerations (N=573) were followed by community-based treatment; 44% (N=803) were followed by treatment during a subsequent incarceration, and 23% (N=398) by no treatment. Generalized estimating equations found that individuals with schizophrenia and substance dependence were the most likely to obtain community treatment.
By integrating discharge planning, community mental health providers and jails may ensure a continuum of care that facilitates treatment engagement, limits repeated incarcerations, and improves well-being.
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