The Community Linkage Program is operated by the Office of Forensic Services (OFS) of the Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH) for adult offenders with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI) and for youthful offenders on the mental health caseload at the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS). This program relies on collaboration between ODMH, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, ODYS, Bureau of Mental Health Services (ODRC-BOMHS), County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health/Mental Health Boards, and community mental health providers. Community linkage services focus on providing qualifying offenders with appointments and other supports to promote successful re-integration into the community. The Community Linkage Manual (link below) provides additional information about the program scope, services and referrals that offenders receive.
The ODMH Community Linkage Program strives to aid all offenders with severe and persistent mental illness in their mental health recovery and stability by providing high quality, holistic and timely continuity of care services upon entering and leaving prison.
The Community Linkage Program will facilitate continuity of mental health care for persons entering or leaving the prison system by assisting in policy development, sharing of information, identifying and addressing needs, monitoring outcomes, and providing problem-solving assistance. This will promote reduced recidivism rates for persons with mental illness who are leaving the prison system and reduce the number of persons incarcerated due to their illness.
The Community Linkage Social Work staff (CLSWs) provide Community Linkage services in the ODRC institutions and ODYS facilities. In addition, CLSW provide referrals to additional community supports such as housing, access to health care services, benefits, and reentry programs and applications for entitlements. The OFS Quarterly Report identifies some of the additional services and supports that are offered to offenders.
In order to promote positive community integration, the CLSWs assist qualifying offenders in applying for Social Security benefits, and when appropriate, for Medicaid benefits. ODMH, in collaboration with the Social Security Administration (SSA), developed an expedited process for filing SSA applications. Offenders meeting the criteria for SSA benefits are pre-screened by ODRC staff and referred to CLSWs to assist in filling an application process.
Feedback received from our community partners has been very positive regarding the expedited SSA application process. Securing these benefits facilitates an offender's return to the community by offering them financial support.
In 2010, ODMH and ODRC identified a need for offenders with a severe and persistent mental illness to be able to apply for SSI/SSDI prior to release. For individuals with a mental illness being released from a correctional facility, having a source of income upon release is a stabilizing factor. Offenders not only have access to funds to pay for food, clothing, and shelter but they also have Medicaid to pay for mental health appointments and medications. The screening criteria for this program are very detailed. Anyone not eligible for this specific project is eligible to apply for SSI/SSDI at any local SSA office or through the Expedited SSI project at participating community mental health agencies. One important component of any SSI/SSDI project is for participants to understand that they may work while receiving benefits. Please click here to learn more about employment and benefits planning.
Beginning in May 2013, ODMH and SSA will enter into a new partnership focusing on youth being released from ODYS who are at least 18 years of age who have a severe and persistent mental illness. The project will function in the same way as the adult system. The pilot location will be Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility.
Jennifer Roach, Community Linkage Manager,(614) 466-1099
|Elizabeth Babka:||Belmont, Hocking, Southeastern, Noble Correctional Institutions|
|Joseph Fodor:||Richland, Lorain, Mansfield Correctional Institutions and Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility|
|Alverta Guerrant:||Franklin Medical Center, London, Madison and Pickaway Correctional Institutions|
|Michelle Lasky:||Northeast Pre-Release, Grafton, Lake Erie, Trumbull Correctional Institutions and the Ohio State Penitentiary|
|Joy Sherer:||Allen, Toledo, Marion and North Central Correctional Institutions|
|Kelly Taynor-Arledge:||Corrections Reception Center, Chillicothe, Ross Correctional Institutions, and Southern Ohio Correctional Facility|
|Kenyetta Travis:||Ohio Reformatory for Women, and Dayton Correctional Institution|
|Michael Wente:||Lebanon and Warren Correctional Institutions and Scioto and Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facilities|