Parole can be a stressful time for any former inmate. Adjusting to life outside of prison can be an uphill battle of trying to find a job and housing, and attempting to reestablish relationships with family and friends to be a productive member of society. For someone with a mental illness, if they are not receiving the right treatment and support, parole can be even more difficult.
Research shows that mentally ill offenders are overrepresented in parolee populations. Those with mental illness have more risk factors for parole revocation than a typical former inmate. If they are released from prison without a mental health referral or assistance with housing, the outcomes are not favorable. Parolees with a mental illness diagnosis and substance abuse issues are more likely to have their parole revoked due to either a technical violation or the commission of another crime.
Corrections agencies are supposed to provide support and assistance for people reintegrating into society. But many of these agencies don't have the required resources to help everyone sufficiently, especially those with a mental illness that need extra assistance. Community-based programs can help fill in the gaps and provide specialized support with mental health treatment and housing placement. With this assistance, former inmates with mental illness may have better outcomes and a lower rate of recidivism.
Parole Support and Treatment Program
In response to this crisis, New York City’s Project Renewal has started its Parole Support and Treatment Program (PSTP)to assist parolees with mental illness to adjust to life outside of prison. The program recognizes that parolees with mental illness face unique challenges such as dealing with the symptoms of their illness, finding suitable housing, and mending fractured relationships with friends and family.
PSTP was established in 2002 to help parolees with mental illness cope and adjust as they made the transition to life outside of prison. PTSP staff work with former inmates helping them find counseling and mental health treatment. They also provide life skills training and housing placement to assist the former inmates in reintegrating back into society. According to PTSP, 89% of the participants in their program move into permanent housing.
If you or a loved one has a mental illness and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental illnesses. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.