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Lauren C. Meath, Psy.D., is a 2016 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Kathi Borden, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Dean Hammer, Psy.D., Committee Member
  • Christina Roth, Psy.D., Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2016

Abstract

The prevalence of individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) in prisons has risen in recent years. While incarcerated, individuals with SMI face many challenges, such as difficulties with peers and staff, and potential exacerbation of mental health symptoms. These difficulties do not subside when reentering their communities upon release. These individuals encounter unique challenges upon release, such as facing the difficult task of finding mental health services and other resources, housing, and health insurance. This study aimed to gather the perspectives of clinicians who worked for the Office of Mental Health in New York State regarding community reentry for inmates with SMI. Participants included two groups: (a) prerelease coordinators who worked in prisons throughout the state and (b) clinicians who worked at an urban outpatient clinic. Interviews with nine participants were completed to gather provider opinions on the unique challenges faced by offenders with SMI reintegrating into society. A goal of this study was to encourage enhanced resources during the reentry process and improved community resources for mentally ill offenders. Thematic analysis was used as the method of data analysis. The results found primary themes related to discharge planning and community reentry for inmates with SMI. Identified themes included: (a) inmate psychosocial risk factors, (b) issues of access to community resources, (c) problems in the discharge planning process, and (d) factors that facilitated the discharge planning process (all included additional sub-themes). The results were generally consistent with those of prior research, noting the challenges in finding necessary community resources and the myriad issues these inmates face upon release. The findings are discussed further, highlighting interfering and facilitating factors to reentry, and comparing the perspectives of the prison prelease coordinators and the community-based clinicians.

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Lauren C. Meath

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-2509-8572

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