In an effort to change the increasing trend of recidivating mentally diagnosed offenders, correctional agencies proactively sought alternatives focusing on the problem. The alternative was to provide re-entry services for the mentally diagnosed offender through clinical case management. Clinical case management services, from confinement to community, are provided to mentally diagnosed offenders eligible for parole or discharge because of expiration of sentence. Clinical Case Managers within the facility and Forensic Social Workers within the community assist the mentally diagnosed offender with a sustainable re-entry plan. The re-entry plan focal point is to provide continuum of care services for crucial mental and physical health needs such as psychiatric/medical care, housing, or disability resources, and family support system.
Case managers receive referrals from a variety of sources within the Tennessee Department of Correction (mental/medical health treatment team staff, Institution Parole Officer, re-entry specialists, and Tennessee Department of Correction statewide clinical case management program director. Tennessee Department of Correction’s goal is to provide Clinical Case Managers and/or Forensic Social Workers with the referrals 12 months prior to potential discharge. In the previous year, the referrals were less than 30 days from potential discharge, which prevents the case manager from accomplishing difficult tasks, such as social security disability filings. Going forward, the agency’s plan to provide the referrals through the Tennessee Department of Correction Mental Health Administrators (MHA) oversees the mental health department. The MHA provides administrative oversight to license to the non-license staff and clinical decisions for the mentally diagnosed offenders mental health care.
The re-entry program for mentally diagnosed offenders was designed to meet the needs of the offenders. However, the program was also designed to utilize the services and resources of community providers and other state departments. The idea of the program was through cross-sector collaboration supply the offenders with the tools to become productive citizens. The re-entry program is a unique model because for the first time, there is dedicated licensed clinical case managers working within the facilities and Forensic Social Workers working within the community with offenders with mental health diagnoses. Both CCM and FSW are partnering by determining what continuum of services the offenders will require upon his or her parole or expiration of sentence. Thus, the new CCM and the FSWs are working together to develop a sustainable re-entry plan for the mentally diagnosed offender from confinement to community.


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