Services for offenders with mental impairments: A Texas model

  • William B. Schnapp
  • Tuan Nguyen
  • Jay Johnson

Summary

The Texas Council on Offenders with Mental Impairments stands as a model for envisioning and implementing the resolutions to problems of service development and delivery to offenders with mental impairments. Acting upon an uncommon sensitivity to the range of problems experienced by persons incarcerated with mental impairments, consumer groups, elected officials, and agency administrators moved to create the Council. The Council's coalition membership cuts across disciplines and agencies to promote close, effective coordination and collaboration. Most importantly, the Council was conceived, organized, mobilized, and continues to operate with advocacy as its primary guiding principle.

The Texas Council on Offenders with Mental Impairments is an exemplary experiment in promoting the development and delivery of services for offenders with mental impairments specifically, and special populations generally. It has (1) battled stigma through dissemination of accurate and timely research information; (2) advocated for innovative interventions for its target populations; (3) engaged the leadership and commitment of government officials around its legislative initiatives; and (4) fostered a continuum of services through coordinating the activities of separate agencies and different disciplines. It deserves the continued attention of those interested in studying, and those concerned with ameliorating, the problems of special populations, the development and administration of service organizations, and the operation of state government.

Under difficult circumstances and within a context of a clear reticence among some state officials to support public mental health initiatives, any such initiatives undertaken must be aimed toward success at their inception. The factors that effected the Council's initial efforts toward success can be summarized briefly as: (1) comprehensive mandates and the latitude to intervene; (2) a broad-based interagency constituency; (3) legislative backing; and, above all, (4) the authority to generate and distribute funds (Steadman, McCarty, & Mossissey, 1989).

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Belcher, J.R. (1988). Are the jails replacing the mental health system for the homeless mentally ill?Community Mental Health Journal, 24, 185–95.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Caton, C.L., Shrout, P.E., Eagle, P.F., Opler, L.A., Felix, A., & Domique, B. (1994). Risk factors for homelessness among schizophrenic men: A case-control study.American Journal of Public Health, 84, 265–70.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Coben, E.L. (1991). Nursing case management. Does it pay?Journal of Nursing Administration, 21(4), 20–5.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, M.L., & Tsemberis, S. (1991). Emergency psychiatric intervention on the street.New Directions in Mental Health Services, (52), 3–16.Google Scholar
  5. Erkel, E.A. (1993). The impact of case management in preventive services.Journal of Nursing Administration, 23(1), 27–32.Google Scholar
  6. Lamb, H.R., & Shaner, R. (1993). When there are almost no state beds left.Hospital & Community Psychiatry, 44, 973–6.Google Scholar
  7. Monahan, J., & Steadman, H. (1982). Crime and mental disorder: An epidemiological approach. In N. Norris & M. Torrey (Eds.),Annual Review of crime and justice, (4), (pp. 145–189). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1982.Google Scholar
  8. Reeder, D., & Meldman, L. (1991). Conceptualizing psychosocial nursing in the jail setting.Journal of Psychosocial Nursing in Mental Health Services, 29(8), 40–4.Google Scholar
  9. Richman, B.J., Convit, A., & Martell, D.A. (1992). Homelessness and the mentally ill offender.Journal of the Forensic Sciences, 37, (3), 932–937.Google Scholar
  10. Rife, J.C., First, R.J., & Greenlee, R.W. (1991). Case management with homeless mentally ill people.Health & Social Work, 16(1), 58–67.Google Scholar
  11. Schellenberg, E., Glenn, W., Webster, D., Christopher, D., & Goering, P. (1992). A review of arrests among psychiatric patients.International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 15(3), 251–264.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Schnapp, W. (1991).Effective service alternatives for misdemeanants with mental illness. Austin, TX: Texas Council on Offenders with Mental Impairments.Google Scholar
  13. Steadman, H.R., McCarty, D.W., & Mossissey, J.P. (1989).The mentally ill in jail. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  14. Teplin, L.A., & Schwartz, J. (1989). Screening for severe mental disorder in jails.Law and Human Behavior, (13), 1–18.Google Scholar
  15. Tessler, R.C., & Dennis, D. (1992). Mental health among homeless adults: A synthesis of recent NIMH-Funded Research.Research in Community and Mental Health, 7, 3–53.Google Scholar
  16. Torrey, E.F. (1988).Nowhere to go. New York, NY: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  17. Torrey, E.F., Steiber, J., Ezekial, J., Wolfe, S.M., Sharstein, J., Noble, J.H., & Flynn, L.M. (1992).Criminalizing the seriously mentally ill: The abuse of jails as mental health hospitals. Washington, DC: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and Public Citizen's Health Research Group.Google Scholar
  18. U.S. Department of Justice. (1992).Bureau of Justice statistics bulletin. Washington, DC: GPO.Google Scholar
  19. Worley, N.K., & Albanese, N. (1989). Independent living for the chronically mentally ill.Journal of Psychosocial Nursing in Mental Health Service, 27(9), 18–23.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • William B. Schnapp
    • 1
  • Tuan Nguyen
    • 2
  • Jay Johnson
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Texas Health Sciences CenterHouston
  2. 2.Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris CountyHouston
  3. 3.University of Texas School of Public Health at HoustonUSA
  4. 4.Research and Planning, Corp.USA
  5. 5.UTMSIHouston

Personalised recommendations