Mental Health services are provided by a staff of professional psychiatrists, advanced practice psychiatric nurses, psychologists, masters-level psychological clinicians, and social workers employed by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. The Mental Health Services unit promotes recovery for offenders with serious illness, developmental disabilities, and/or co-occurring disorders. Services encompass the entire spectrum of care, including screening/assessment, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, outpatient, intermediate, and acute/inpatient mental health services; and reentry services including pre-discharge planning/preparation. Offenders are also provided medication distribution services by the Medical Services Unit’s nurses and pharmacists. In addition to offender services, the Mental Health staff also provides facility training to employees regarding suicide prevention and awareness of issues related to working with offenders with serious mental illness.
The ODOC definition of a serious mental illness includes current symptoms of a DSM-IV-R Axis I mental disorder that causes maladjustment and/or personal suffering to the extent that medication is needed and prescribed by a psychiatrist or an Axis I diagnosis in the groups of psychotic disorders, Bi-Polar, or Major Depression. Recent data indicates 33% of the total population currently exhibit symptoms of a serious mental illness. Of incarcerated men, 30% currently exhibit symptoms of a serious mental illness, while 58% of female offenders currently exhibit symptoms of a serious mental illness.
Offenders with mental health problems continue to be increasingly overrepresented in the ODOC population compared to the community. The chart right is a dramatic picture of the fact that significant decreases in the rate of citizens committed to state mental health hospitals occurred at the same time the incarceration rate has significantly increased. The ODOC has developed a recovery model of mental health services that provides an integrated system of mental health care aligned with good correctional management designed to empower offenders with mental illness to attain each individual's maximum level of crime-free employment, self-care, interpersonal relationships, and community participation.