Mental health care for prisoners could prevent rearrest, but prisons aren’t designed for rehabilitation

Source: The Conversation, January 19, 2016

Mental health conditions are more common among prisoners than in the general population. Estimates suggest that as many as 26 percent of state and federal prisoners suffer from at least one mental illness, compared with nine percent or less in the general population. And prisoners with untreated mental illness are more likely to be arrested again after they are released.

But prisoners’ access to health care, including mental health care, varies from prison to prison. This is partly because funding varies annually due to budget restrictions and changing policies requiring use of funds for other purposes. And public support for rehabilitation is constantly fluctuating. As you can imagine, many people consider mental health treatment among prisoners to be a low funding priority compared to other federal programs, such as college student financial aid….