Mental Health, Addiction & Incarceration

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For the Day of Conversation - Mental Health, Addiction & Incarceration Mental Health, Addiction & Incarceration Overview, links to resources and conversation guide for the day of your conversation.
Invitation Sample Invitation Sample

The is growing awareness and concern at the high rates (50-60%) of mentally ill people inside our jails and prisons. What is the appropriate response to an individual with mental health challenges who commits a crime? Does it depend on the crime? What is the role of addiction and mental illness? To what degree are mental health problems emerging because of the atmosphere in our criminal justice system? As co-hosts, create a space where different perspectives on this important question can be shared openly.


Rounds/Questions: The Living Room Conversation Starts Here
A Living Room Conversation is designed to flow through 6 rounds; 5 rounds with questions and the closing. During some rounds, each question will be addressed. In other rounds, the multiple questions are intended as conversation starters and you need only respond to the one or two that matter the most to you. In the event the conversation wanders off track, we will refer to this Conversation Guide to get it back on track.

Round One: Getting Started / Why Are We Here?
● What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round Two: Core Values
Answer one or more of the following:
● What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
● What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you “tick”?
● What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country now and long-term?

Round Three: Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Incarceration
Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer one or more of the following questions:
● How should we balance the needs of community safety with the needs of the mentally ill and/or indigent who are arrested, their family and others?
● What is an appropriate level of community-provided support for mentally ill, addicted and indigent individuals?
● How do we provide, when appropriate, alternatives to jail for mentally ill, addicted and indigent individuals?
● Where is mental illness and community safety on your top-10 community focus list? Why?

Round Four: Reflection
Answer one or more of the following questions:
● In one sentence, share what was most meaningful / valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation.
● What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on this topic?
● Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

Round Five: Accomplishment and Next Steps
Answer both of the following questions:
● What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
● Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

Closing – Thank you! Please complete the feedback form (attached) to help improve Living Room Conversations.