The Connection Between Mental Health and Incarceration: One Journalist’s Insights into the Idaho Department of Correction’s Mental Health Services

Managing mental health in correctional facilities

As a journalist, I would rewrite the article in the following way:

Since the 1990s, Dr. Wally Campbell has been working in correctional facilities as a chief psychologist at the Idaho Department of Correction. During this time, he has noticed a significant connection between mental health issues and incarceration. According to him, approximately one-third of inmates come into the system with mental health challenges, but more are diagnosed while in prison.

Dr. Campbell emphasizes that the harsh and stressful environment of prison can exacerbate existing mental health issues or cause situational mental illness. Coping mechanisms can be challenging in such an environment, leading to changes in mental health status. To assess mental health needs, IDOC follows a similar process as other states. Upon arrival, inmates undergo a screening by nurses in the reception diagnostic unit to determine any immediate mental health crises. The assessment includes questions about mental health history and current well-being to ensure proper care is provided.

Different levels of classification are assigned to those with mental health struggles to ensure they receive appropriate care. However, resources are limited when it comes to addressing the needs of incarcerated individuals with mental illnesses. Despite this, Dr. Campbell believes that treating mental illness can help reduce the likelihood of reoffending for some individuals. However, he also notes that addressing criminal behavior remains a complex issue that requires ongoing attention from correctional facilities.

In conclusion, Dr. Campbell’s work has shed light on the significant connection between mental health issues and incarceration at IDOC. While treatment for mental illness can be helpful for some individuals, there is still much work to be done to address this complex issue within correctional facilities nationwide.

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