Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
For the Jailed Mentally Ill, Release Is Shaky
Friday, June 06, 2014
Of the more than 23,000 inmates released from New York State prisons in 2013, about three percent were determined to be seriously mentally ill. And advocates say people often get released without the prison system recognizing their need for treatment.
The state Office of Mental Health administers treatment inside state prisons. If somebody refuses treatment, inmates get removed from the caseload, according to prisoner advocates. Treatment can't be forced unless they are deemed dangerous to themselves or others.
Upon release from a New York State prison, a seriously mentally ill person receives the following: a two-week supply of medication, a prescription, an appointment to see a mental health professional, and some case management services.
A lack of housing with social service supports is a major problem for ex-convicts. There are long waiting lists for what's called supportive housing. Many end up in unregulated 3/4 houses that are often overcrowded and unsafe. The last address the NYPD has for Daniel St. Hubert, alleged killer of a six-year-old boy in Brooklyn, is at a 3/4 house not far from the crime scene.