Community and Stakeholder Perceptions of the Rhode Island Criminal Justice System’s Interactions with Persons with Mental Illness

A System Wide Stakeholder Study Conducted in Collaboration with Roger Williams University

This survey, sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island (MHARI) in collaboration with Roger Williams University, was conducted as part of a collaborative statewide effort to improve mental health services in the Rhode Island Criminal Justice System (RICJS). Public and professional perceptions of the adequacy of mental health related services, practices, and training within the RICJS were explored. One hundred and forty one respondents, including RICJS professionals, mental health and health professionals, interested members of the public, and current and past prisoners and their families all consistently and overwhelmingly reported perceptions that interactions of an individual with mental illness’ involvement with the RICJS, are less than adequate. This is true across all phases of involvement. Negative responses ranged from 86.1% to 66.6%. Diversion to treatment was perceived as most in need of attention, with an 84.4% negative response rating. The area next most concerning to respondents was training, with an 81% negative response rating.

Principal Investigators:

Judith Platania, PhD

Ann M. Varna Garis, PhD

Michael C. Cerullo, Jr, MS, LMHC