The latest government figures suggest that more than half of all jail and prison inmates have mental health issues, this holds especially true in Iowa. In Iowa prisons, even when inmates are given their 30-day prescription drugs, it doesn’t allow the inmates enough time to jump through all the necessary hoops to get a new prescription once they are released. Upon release they are given their 30-day supply of medication but in the state of Iowa following up on that is a long process (6 months). So long that by the time they actually get through to health services their medication is long gone.
If the government were to extend their prescription, it would allow the former inmate the time he or she needs to secure his/her own medical care either with the help of a re-entry program or on his own and a better chance at making the difficult move back into society. Iowa has started running a pilot program that will allow all of this to happen. The pilot program has been running for less than two years, but the early returns are promising. Through the programs first nine months the last time the stats were compiled none of the 165 participants had been charged with a violent crime in the first 90 days after his release, compared to 1.6 percent of a similar population of severely mentally ill former inmates who were not in the program. If programs like these were run in every state the rate of recidivism would be a lot lower, it is up to us to bring attention to these programs and help people be aware of the difficulties that ex-offenders face.
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