There is an enormous need for peer-led programs that serve individuals with mental health conditions who have criminal justice system involvement. The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. And more than half of them have a mental health problem, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. People who live with mental health challenges are less likely to be released on bail, and have longer jail and prison terms. Even when they are released, they are more likely to incur technical probation violations. And this doesn’t even take into account how difficult it is for people coming out of jails and prisons to get jobs and housing, which are essential to finding their way back to normal lives.
Funding for this initiative was made possible by grant no. 1H79TI083022 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.