first_img By: J.J. Abbott, Deputy Press Secretary BLOG: How DOC is Helping Inmates with Mental Illness Transition Home (Round-up) Criminal Justice Reform,  Round-Up,  The Blog Yesterday, Department of Corrections officials highlighted a state-run, first-of-its-kind unit at the Wernersville Community Corrections Center that helps individuals with mental illness transition home following incarceration. At the media event, reporters were given a tour of the 32-bed unit and interviewed employees and center residents.“We are proud of our efforts to address the behavioral health needs of those who are incarcerated in Pennsylvania,” said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “With fully one-quarter of all of those entering prisons in Pennsylvania diagnosed with mental illness and nine percent of those struggling with serious mental illness, it is imperative that the department develop the best possible programming to help them succeed when they return to the community. We anticipate that Pathways Transitional Wellness Center will become a model facility for other states.”Take a look at the additional coverage below: May 18, 2016 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Philadelphia Inquirer: Helping mentally ill inmates find their way home“When Henry Hamm, a 61-year-old Lancaster man who has schizophrenia, finished serving time for writing a bad check, he was sent to a new program designed to help offenders with serious mental illnesses rejoin the outside world. He joined Pathways Transitional Wellness Center, which connects mentally ill parolees to social and medical services, housing, and jobs before they try to make it on their own. Three months later, he’s a fan of the nine-month-old Department of Corrections program, which is housed in a boxy, utilitarian building on the grounds of Wernersville State Hospital, about nine miles southwest of Reading.”Allentown Morning Call: State touts reentry program for seriously mentally ill inmates“As a state prison inmate with serious mental illness, 61-year-old Henry Hamm represents one of the biggest challenges that Pennsylvania’s corrections system faces. Hamm, who is serving a 2- to 4-year sentence in Lancaster County for felony theft, is diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Too often, the extra hurdles he faces would make his time as a prisoner a difficult one, and one in which he risked returning to the streets no better able to cope with his problems than when he left. Enter a first-of-its-kind program at a halfway house run by the Department of Corrections on the campus of Wernersville State Hospital, roughly 10 miles west of Reading.”Reading Eagle: State corrections secretary celebrates success at Wernersville center“Mentally ill Americans are disproportionately more likely to be arrested, incarcerated and commit another crime once released. This problem extends to the state level. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said about 27 percent of all inmates in the system have a mental illness and about 9 percent of those are battling severe disorders. So to address the needs of this unique population the department launched a new program solely dedicated to helping those offenders return to the community after they have served their time.”Follow the Department of Corrections on Twitter @CorrectionsPA and on Facebook. Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolflast_img

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