Mental Health Care in Correctional Facilities

April 18, 2019 | Telepsychiatry Benefits

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, In 44 states, a jail or prison holds more individuals with mental illnesses than the largest remaining state psychiatric hospital. Every inmate has the right to adequate medical and mental health care; however, due to overcrowding, lack of funding and outdated treatment laws, many inmates go without the basic care they need.

Prisoners with mental illnesses are especially vulnerable to the difficult conditions that exist in correctional facilities. Overcrowding also contributes to the lack of care available, and with a shortage of psychiatric clinicians in the workforce, inmates are even more likely to go without care. This only increases an inmate’s vulnerability and may further exacerbate a mental illness.

In order to address this disparity in care, innovaTel looks to provide services that fit into and enhance a correctional facility’s current psychiatric care offering.

Barriers to Mental Health Treatment in Correctional Facilities

For many years, mental health treatment for inmates has been insufficient. The lack of proper psychiatric care over time can drive those in need of psychiatric care back into the corrections system untreated, creating a cycle of incarceration rather than rehabilitation. The barriers that prevent facilities from providing proper access to care the first time an inmate arrives range from lack of providers, to cost of resources.

In order to effectively address these barriers, some facilities have begun to incorporate telepsychiatry into their mental health care services. Telepsychiatry not only closes the gap in care but also opens up the possibility for inmates to see a clinician that has specialized training if necessary.

The Benefit of Incorporating Telepsychiatry

At innovaTel Telepsychiatry, we have seen first hand how this technology can expand the way psychiatric services are received by patients in need. The use of telepsychiatry allows a facility to increase its capacity for care in an efficient and cost-effective way. Telepsychiatry not only provides access to prompt care, but it also makes clinicians with secondary specialties more accessible where their skills may be needed most.

The innovaTel clinical team understands just how complicated and challenging correctional environments can be, which allows them to provide high-quality care that will ultimately benefit an inmate’s overall well-being.

If you are interested in learning more about innovaTel’s telepsychiatry services, you can visit our services page or contact us here.

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