Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)

Friday, January 18, 2008: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
Blue Prefunction (Omni Shoreham)
[Pov/C] Arrested Developments: the Intersection of Mental Illness, Crime, Substance Abuse, and Social Context
Symposium Organizer:Amy Blank, PhD, Rutgers University
Towards Citizenship and Community Enhancement for Individuals with Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Alcohol Use, and a History of Criminal Incarceration
Chyrell D. Bellamy, PhD, David Sells, PhD, Michael Rowe, PhD
The Criminalization Hypothesis: an Historical Analysis
Melissa Schaefer Morabito, PhD, Jeffrey Draine, PhD
An Examination of the Connections between Unmet Service Needs and Access to Mental Health Services for People with Serious Mental Illness Leaving Jail
Amy Blank, PhD
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in Explaining Jail Incarceration
Jeffrey Draine, PhD, Amy Blank, PhD, Steve Metraux, PhD, Trevor Hadley, PhD
Police, Procedural Justice, and Persons with Mental Illness
Amy Watson, PhD, Beth Angell, PhD
Abstract Text:
In the past 30 years, there has been a growing body of research that studies the intersection of the mental health services and the criminal justice system. This line of research began at a time when the country saw an unprecedented four-fold increase in the US incarceration rates. Yet these investigations have tended to restrict their focus to the operational interactions between the mental health and criminal justice systems, ignoring both the important social and political context that accompany the drastic increase in incarceration rates and the myriad needs of the people involved in both systems. Lost in this discussion is the important role that issues such as substance abuse, poverty, homelessness, and neighborhood context play in a person with mental illness's involvement in with the criminal justice system.

This symposium presents a set of papers meant to engage these broader issues and discuss some of the ways that they intersect in the lives of people with mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system. In this vein, we present two pieces of research that look at the factors that explain the increased involvement of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system, research that examines police interactions with people with mental illness, people with substance abuse and mental health problems, and people with mental illness reentering the community after incarceration. Each of these presentations presents a view of crime and mental health interactions that is not often seen in this literature, such as an analysis of procedural justice issues in interactions between police officers and people with mental illness, two analyses that challenge the premise that mental illness is the principal cause of involvement in the justice system, research that asks people with mental illness to define and prioritize their service needs post incarceration, and research that broadens our understanding of the role that substance abuse plays in the lives of people with mental illness and their involvement in the criminal justice system. This symposium will encourage social workers to engage in research that has relevance to a broader audience by incorporating multiple disciplines in investigations that embrace new areas and methods. Research such as this offers compelling practice and policy implications that begin to address the underlying issues of poverty, substance abuse, and social exclusion that affect the lives of people with mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system.

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See more of Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)