Health and the Justice System

In 2005, Francis Brauner was a quarter of the way through a 20-year prison sentence at Dixon Correctional Institute in Louisiana, when he had an accident.

Brauner was imprisoned for a rape conviction, which he maintains was wrongful and part of a setup by a corrupt judge.

His sentence involved hard labor, and one day he was out in the fields, cutting the grass and he bent over to pick something up from the ground. He felt a sharp pain in his back.

http://www.msh.state.ms.us/

The state of mental health care in Mississippi has been in freefall for years.

As a consequence of the ripple effects of the financial crisis, Mississippi saw its state support for mental health care slashed by $42 million from 2009 to 2011, roughly 15 percent of the Department of Mental Health’s budget.

AJ Casey / AJKC LLC

One day in August 2016, 83-year-old Albert Fink crashed his 2012 BMW sedan into a tree, on a curve on Indiana State Road 46 just outside of Bloomington.

More people who are addicted to opioids are coming into the Marion County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. The influx has the sheriff calling on Indiana lawmakers to spend more to combat addiction.   

Lieutenant Colonel James Martin, the Marion County Jail commander, says the facility has seen an influx of people going into withdrawals. “The majority of the problems we are dealing with are your first 20 or so hours in custody,” says Martin.

Office of the Attorney General for Elkhart County

In Indiana, seven federal criminal investigations have uncovered over $1 million in Medicaid fraud, leading to the indictment of 15 individuals and two companies on various charges.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Terrell Harris spent two years in prison on a drug charge when his son was a toddler.

Now, he worries about the effects of that absence.

“I’ve noticed a change in my son because of me not being there and being incarcerated,” Harris says.

Indiana Senators Push Law Enforcement Mental Health Bill

Apr 25, 2017
Brandon Smith/WFYI

Indiana U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) are pushing legislation to help get law enforcement better access to mental health services.

Andrea Muraskin/Side Effects

It’s not something you expect to see in a courtroom: 35 women, chatting, laughing, eating lasagna. But brunch before the session is a weekly tradition at an unusual court in Columbus, Ohio.

Once the plates are cleared away and everyone sits down in a semi-circle facing the bench, a probation officer steps to the center of the room, with an empty plastic bin and a big smile.

“You know I love you so much, right?” she says, as she collects everyone’s cell phones, to a chorus of groans.

Mental Health Courts Are Popular But Effectiveness Is Still Unproven

Dec 28, 2015
Eric E. Johnson via Flickr

Mental health courts are popular in many communities, and it’s easy to understand why. Rather than sending someone who’s mentally ill to an overcrowded jail that is poorly equipped to manage his condition, mental health courts offer treatment and help with housing and other social services. The community saves on the cost of locking someone up and offenders get support to stay healthy and may have their charges expunged. Everybody wins, right?

This story was originally produced by Kaiser Health News

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