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Monday, October 23, 2006

Pennsylvania is Now Providing Services for Ex-Inmates With Mental Illnesses

From philly.com:  Ex-inmates are now participating in Pennsylvania programs for parolees with serious mental illness. The programs offer comprehensive services - housing and job assistance, medication management, counseling and education - aimed at keeping this high-risk, high-maintenance population from returning to jail or causing trouble out on the streets.

Until this year, the state didn't offer any services for the mentally ill once they left state prison. Nine of the state's 21 counties have some mental health services for such inmates who are about to be freed from county jail, though the assistance varies in scope, duration and intensity.

"The dilemma was, 'Where do I put a person like this?' " said Kevin McHugh, director of community programs and grant management for the state parole board. "We don't want to keep them in jail, and the likelihood for them to fail on the outside was high."

The two pilot programs for inmates emerging from state prisons are run by separate groups and funded by different sources. But their missions are similar: to provide the best possible chance for mentally ill ex-cons to become independent and productive rather than be re-incarcerated.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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