Out of 26,539 inmates, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections estimates that 55% (14,625) of all offenders have a history of or current symptoms of a mental illness (Oklahoma Department of Corrections, 2013 Annual Report). There are 75% of female inmates and 53% of male inmates who have been diagnosed with a mental illness (Oklahoma Department of Corrections, 2013 Annual Report, Female Offenders). A 2009 DOC study revealed, 55% of incarcerated offenders with some form of mental illness had been convicted of only non-violent offenses (Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Mental Health Services Facts, December 2009). Over 50% of DOC prison receptions were for drug and alcohol offenses. Among the prison population, over 40% were for drug and alcohol offenses (Oklahoma Department of Corrections, FY2012 Receptions, Incarcerations, and Releases).
Putting people with mental illness or addiction behind bars is not effective in either reducing crime or helping these individuals recover from their illness. The fact is that treatment works. Non-violent offenders would be better served, economically and medically, with treatment in their communities.
The average cost to maintain an inmate in prison is $48 per day. For someone on a prison mental health unit, the cost jumps to approximately $175 per day. Providing appropriate mental health services to someone in the community to keep them from entering the criminal justice system costs approximately $25/day; and, providing appropriate substance abuse services to someone in the community to keep them from entering the criminal justice system costs less than $15/day.
Oklahoma's network of drug and mental health court programs serve to divert non-violent, eligible offenders from prison to structured, court-supervised substance abuse and mental health treatment. A smart investment, Oklahoma's drug and mental health courts are saving money and saving lives.
Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
1200 NE 13th Street, PO Box 53277
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3277
405-522-3908 | 405-522-3851 TDD | 405-522-3650 Fax | Toll-Free, 24 Hours 1-800-522-9054
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