A study conducted at Rutgers School of Public health reports that released convicts that are provided with better mental health support tend to possess better mental health compared to those who do not.
An International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology study discovered that if the ex-lawbreakers, especially those who are of color, are provided with social support, end up with a significantly better mental health and manage an easy and successful re-entry in the society. Furthermore, the people who were not provided with such support faced difficulties when trying to reestablish themselves.
Annually, around 1.5 million people are imprisoned in state and federal prisons; meanwhile, 700,000 are freed. Approximately, 1.39 million of those imprisoned are of the male gender, having a greater ratio of 106 non-Hispanic white men compared to 15 black men and 36 Latino men.
The assistant professor at Rutgers School of Public Health Pamela Valera has said, “Inmates are 10 times more likely to suffer from antisocial personality disorder and two to four times more likely to suffer from psychotic illnesses and major depression; these inmates…. enter a world with weak support networks. It is well established that people who have stable support systems are better positioned to accomplish a successful reentry and maintain a sense of well-being and better mental health.”
According to Valera, this research is of significance when it comes to the discussion taking place within the country regarding the increased imprisonment and the demand for the reform of our criminal justice system.
“Improving social supports is more important than ever as the rate of former offenders is growing…. We need to involve personnel inside the criminal justice system, such as prison staff and community reintegration offices, in providing and encouraging the use of social, community and religious support services for inmates upon reentry,” she said.
Currently, the only authorized school of public health in New Jersey hopes to enhance the health of various populations in the city and the world is The Rutgers School of Public Health. It intends to do so by increasing the number of highly skilled public health leaders and researchers by providing education to students along with establishing health service programs that work towards better health for everyone.