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Overview of ODOC Mental Health Services


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.

To achieve effective, cost-efficient mental health services, ODOC utilizes a unique mental health management classification information system that provides a concentration of staffing and designated housing for those offenders with the most serious mental illness in the least restrictive conditions that promote individual recovery and resilience while protecting the public. To provide concentrated services, specialized designated housing units have been established at three facilities. These units are located at Joseph Harp Correctional Center, Mabel Bassett Correctional Center and Oklahoma State Penitentiary.  The more acute, inpatient care is provided on Mental Health Units (MHUs). Intermediate care and specialized reentry services are provided on Intermediate Care Housing Units (ICHUs). However, approximately 98% of offenders with mental illness are treated on an outpatient basis in the general population housing settings. The table below summarizes the fiscal year 2012 average monthly number of mental health services.

FY 2017 Mental Health Average Monthly Activities
Inmates in Group Sessions
Number of Group Sessions
Number of Individual Therapy Sessions
Inmates Seen for Psychotropic Medication Management
Crisis Interventions
Staff Consultations

Collaborative Mental Health Reentry Program

The ODOC and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) collaborative Mental Health Reentry Program transitions incarcerated offenders with serious mental illness into appropriate community-based mental health services in the community. Discharge Managers employed by ODMHSAS operate out of the three DOC facilities that have mental health units and are part of the multidisciplinary treatment team. They coordinate the mental health reentry of offenders with a serious mental illness. Reentry Intensive Care Coordination Teams (RICCTs) are under ODMHSAS contracts to be responsible for engaging with the offender with serious mental illness prior to discharge and then working with them in the community until they are fully participating in the appropriate community-based mental health and substance abuse services.

A recent outcome analysis of the program that was performed by ODMHSAS showed promising results. Outcomes of offenders served during the first 36 months of the program were compared with a baseline group comprised of similar individuals.

Outcome Measure (updated 2013)
Inpatient hospitalizations
Outpatient service utilization
Rate of Engagement in Community Based Services
Offenders Engaged in Medicaid 90 Days Post Release
Offenders Returning to Prison within 36 Months

*The baseline comparison group was comprised of similar individuals prior to program implementation (2006)