Offenders with mental illness who are serving correctional sentences are released to the community.Without support systems linking their transition to community-based programs following release from prison, the services necessary for their community reintegration are often fragmented and attenuated. Nearly two thirds of all inmates return to prison, and offenders with mental illness face major challenges during reintegration and have an even more difficult time living in the community without specialized, informed services. This article describes a Massachusetts program designed to bridge the transition of offenders with mental illness from incarceration to the community.The authors review historical and recent trends that support the need for such a program along with a description of the demographics of the population served and the challenges faced during program implementation. They also offer recommendations for enhancing public safety and providing efficient service to offenders with mental illness.



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