In 2005, Greater Trenton Behavioral HealthCare launched an initiative to assist released prisoners in Mercer County, N.J., who suffered from mental illness and substance abuse problems. The project was funded under New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
The agency partnered with a range of organizations representing government, health care providers, the mentally ill and ex-offenders to:
- Implement a model for prisoner discharge planning and services geared to the needs of those with serious mental illness or substance abuse problems.
- Gather data useful in reevaluating statewide public policy for serving former prisoners with serious mental illness or substance abuse problems, including:
- The risk of hospitalization or re-incarceration
- The level of services needed
- Follow-through and adherence to treatments
A project advisory committee—made up of staff and representatives of the partnering organizations—provided guidance and coordination.