What are some guidelines to support those who have a serious mental illness, either diagnosed or suspected, in the prison system?

If a loved one has a serious mental illness and is entering the prison system there are several places you can look for guidance so that you can best advocate for your loved ones mental health care while in the system.

Some approaches that work for those with mental health issues who are also in the criminal justice system are listed by SAMHSA and were updated in 2019.

There are guidelines, published in 2017, by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the United Kingdom that provide an excellent framework for care quality for this population in this setting. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Guideline on Mental Health of Adults in Contact with the Criminal Justice System provide guidance from intake, through assessment, care, and maintenance.

A position statement on how those with mental health issues should be treated in the criminal justice system can be found here.

NAMI has developed suggestions for families on calling PII and talking with police which can be helpful when you find yourself in a crisis situation.

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