Trauma Informed Criminal Justice-Part 2

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Tuesday - May 10, 2016.

How prevalent is a history of trauma among people who are incarcerated or otherwise in the criminal justice system? According to SAMHSA's GAINS Center, here are some statistics:

* the MacArthur Mental Health Court (MHC) study documented trauma histories of 311 MHC participants in three states and found that:

- 70% of women and 25% of men were sexually abused or raped before age 20

- 67% of women and 73% of men experienced child physical abuse (any kind other than sexual abuse)

- 61% of women and 68% of men had experienced their parents beating or hitting them with a belt, whip or strap

- 46% of women and 27% of men had witnessed their parents hitting or throwing things at each other

- 39% of women and 28% of men had experienced having the father-figure in their childhood home being arrested

- 25% of women and 20% of men had experienced the father-figure in their childhood home using drugs

SAMHSA's GAINS Center also reports findings from the Targeted Capacity Expansion (TCE) for Jail Diversion Study, a 5-year study of men and women with co-occuring mental health and substance use disorders who were in jail diversion programs. This study was funded by SAMHSA from 2002 - 2007. The TCE researchers found that:

* 96% of the women and 89% of the men in jail diversion programs reported lifetime trauma

* 74% of the women and 86% of the men in jail diversion programs reported current trauma

SAMHSA draws the following conclusions from the research on trauma among justice-involved individuals:

"There are high levels of trauma in both men and women, and in justice-involved individuals. Bsed on these statistics, it is safe to assume that everyone who comes into contact with the justice system has a history of trauma, so criminal justice professionals should take 'universal precautions'."



How being trauma-informed improves criminal justice responses

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Saturday - May 07, 2016.

"Although prevalence estimates vary, there is consensus that high percentages of justice-involved women and men have experienced serious trauma throughout their lifetime. The reverberating effects of traumatic experiences can challenge a person's capacity for recovery and pose significant barriers to accessing services, often resulting in an increased risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system." – SAMHSA GAINS Center – "How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses"

In our previous series of articles about the connections between trauma, addiction, mental health and crime, we presented . . . 

Collaborative effort to give incarcerated people a "Roadmap to Successful Reentry"

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Wednesday - April 27, 2016.

The RMO's latest collaborative effort is the "Roadmap to Successful Reentry" - a pocket-sized guide to help people incarcerated at Lancaster County Prison to prepare for release. The "Roadmap" covers every major aspect of life, including food, clothing, housing, transportation, family matters, employment, healthcare, mental health, addiction, financial matters, education and other needs. Staff at the Prison will give every person coming into LCP a copy of the Roadmap at intake, so they can begin thinking about and planning for release.

The "Roadmap" was created through a collaborative effort between many RMO partner agencies, including Lancaster County Prison, Lancaster County Adult Probation & Parole, Bridge to Community, Healing Communities partner churches, Tabor, Transitional Living Center, Spanish American Civic Association, Lancaster Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, CareerLink, MidPenn Legal Services, Ambassadors for Hope, Compassionate House Aftercare, Mental Health America, Lancaster County Drug & Alcohol Commission, Lancaster County Behavioral Health/Developmental Services, and others.

Participants in the RMO's Reentry life skills course at Lancaster County Prison as well as returning citizens in the RMO's Successful Returning Citizens Mentoring Support Group provided input about what should be covered in the "Roadmap", based on what they most needed to know as they tried to prepare for release from incarceration and to navigate out into the community.

Funding for printing of the "Roadmap to Successful Reentry" is being provided by Bridge to Community and the Art & Selma Walters Trust. The "Roadmap" is a terrific example of the great things that can happen when agencies work collaboratively toward a common goal and collective impact for the good of the whole community.

Here's a recent Lancaster Newspapers article about the "Roadmap":

And here are links to a downloadable version of the Roadmap (designed to be printed on legal-sized paper, double-sided, folded in half lengthwise, then accordion folded into 5 small sections to fit into wallet or pocket)