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Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision

Probation and Parole Authorities and Officers Community supervision professionals have traditionally been most concerned with individuals’ compliance with their supervision and release conditions, which people with behavioral health disorders may find difficult to navigate, particularly those with significant impairments. Supervisees with mental health and/or substance use disorders have complex problems and may be unable to locate and pay for health services, make and keep appointments, tolerate the stress of meeting probation or release requirements, or comply with other demands. Failure to comply may result in incarceration. Probation and parole officers often have large workloads and limited resources on which to draw for treatment and services; in fact, a survey found that slightly less than 10 percent of supervisees participate in some type of substance abuse treatment service in community correctional programs.53 In everyday practice, too few systems effectively focus limited supervision and treatment resources on higher-risk individuals, who tend to be less cooperative and motivated to comply with treatment demands than supervisees who are at a lower risk for committing a crime.54

Community Behavioral Health Service Providers Community-based service providers struggle with how to address the needs of consumers with criminal justice involvement. Many communities have a sharp focus on the prevention of criminal justice involvement and diversion from incarceration for

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Budget Cuts • According to NASMHPD, it is estimated that funding within control of the state mental health authorities in the 50 states was reduced by at least $3.49 billion between fiscal years 2009 and 2012. In 2011, 81 percent of the states participating in their annual survey reported budget reductions while experiencing increasing demand for community mental health and crisis services.55 • Funding for substance abuse services has suffered as well. On the federal level, funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant, the cornerstone of the states’ substance abuse prevention and treatment systems, has experienced declines: from fiscal year 2004 to 2008, the program was cut by more than $20 million.56 It is estimated that the SAPT Block Grant would have to be increased by a minimum of $403.7 million in 2012 just to maintain services at 2004 levels. • According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 23.1 million Americans ages 12 or older needed treatment for an alcohol or illicit drug problem in 2010, yet only 2.6 million received treatment that year.57 For treatment programs with long waiting lists or limited slots, service providers are forced to make difficult decisions regarding who gets priority access.

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