Government counselors, caseworkers and prison guards will get training in how to deal with the mentally-ill in the system…even in prison. Dr. Michael Flaum directs the Iowa Consortium for Mental Health. He says it’s not trying to excuse a criminal when you determine how much their mental illness played a part in a crime. Though a mental illness might be part of the reason a crime was committed, the doctor says some offenders get a chance for treatment once they’re in prison. Once a person’s in government custody, there’s a legal requirement to give them food, shelter, and thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, health care, including mental health. Flaum says educating caseworkers and other public employees who’ll work with the mentally ill can help keep them on an even keel once they’ve paid their debt to society.Most people who go into prison come out, and the mentally ill who were stable inside can fall apart once they get out without adequate follow-up. Dr. Flaum says it’s not cost-effective to treat the mentally ill by throwing them in prison, and isn’t a good answer to the problem. During this kind of budget crisis, Flaum says they’re particularly vulnerable and need someone looking out for their interests. Flaum says 18-percent of the people in Iowa prisons are seriously mentally ill, and jails have replaced hospitals as the place they get any treatment. Dr. Flaum will lead training sessions hosted by the mental-health consortium, corrections department, and Iowa Association of Counties.
You are here: / / Guards and counselors get training in dealing with mentally ill