Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Justice-Involved Individuals with Substance Abuse Disorder and Mental Illness Upon Re-entry

The incarceration of individuals with substance abuse disorder and mental illness is a significant problem in the United States.

According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately two-thirds of individuals in jail or prison have a substance use disorder, and over half experience mental illness. For these individuals, re-entry into society can be challenging, with many experiencing barriers to accessing needed healthcare services.

Managed care organizations (MCOs) can play a critical role in improving outcomes for justice-involved individuals with substance abuse disorder and mental illness upon re-entry. Here are some strategies that MCOs can implement to achieve this goal, while simultaneously improving the cost of care, continuity of care, and quality of care these individuals receive.


Identify Individuals with Substance Abuse Disorder and Mental Illness During Intake

MCOs can work with local jails and state prisons to identify individuals with substance abuse disorder and mental illness during the intake process. This will enable MCOs to begin developing a care plan that meets the individual's specific needs, including substance abuse treatment and mental health services upon release.


Develop Comprehensive Care Plans

Care coordinators can work with justice-involved individuals upon release to develop comprehensive care plans that address their substance abuse and mental health needs. This may include referrals to community-based services such as counseling, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).


Ensure Continuity of Care

To ensure successful re-entry, MCOs should work with state Medicaid agencies to ensure continuity of care. This may involve coordinating with local healthcare providers to ensure that individuals have access to medication and other necessary treatment.


Provide Education and Training

MCOs can provide education and training to both justice-involved individuals and service providers on the importance of early intervention and treatment for substance abuse disorder and mental illness. This education can help to reduce stigma, costs, and recidivism, while improving continued access to care.


Monitor Outcomes

MCOs should monitor outcomes to determine the effectiveness of their programs. This may involve tracking rates of substance abuse relapse and hospitalization for mental illness and their associated costs. This data can be used to make improvements to programs and to develop best practices at both the healthcare and administrative levels.

MCOs play a critical role in improving outcomes for justice-involved populations. By identifying individuals during intake, developing comprehensive care plans, ensuring continuity of care upon release, providing education and training, and monitoring outcomes, MCOs can help to reduce recidivism rates and improve the lives of justice-involved individuals. 

By working collaboratively with partners like Equifax and utilizing our Incarceration Intelligence solution that can help improve cost, continuity of care, and quality of care, MCOs can help to break down barriers to care and ensure that justice-involved individuals receive the support they need to successfully re-enter society. 

Learn more about our Incarceration Intelligence now or contact us today to determine how our innovative data solution can meet your organization’s needs.


About Equifax

With decades of experience serving the public sector, Equifax leverages trusted, unique data, analytics, technology, and expertise to help clients drive innovation and transform knowledge into insights. Equifax empowers state Medicaid agencies and managed care organizations to collaborate and make more informed decisions, streamline operations, maximize program efficiency, reduce fraud and improper payments, and enhance the user experience.