Program helps ex-prisoners with mental illness stay out of jail

Published:
Updated:

A program in Delaware is making sure those with a history of mental illness and incarceration don't stay behind bars. The county formed a 40 person team called the Multi-Agency Intervention Team or MACIT.

"For us it was simple it was a simple solution let get everybody in a room and talk about it," says Kassie Neff, Delaware County Criminal Justice Program Manager.

Twenty-seven-year-old Brent McDaniel credits the program with saving his life. He suffers from schizophrenia and spent most of his teenage year in prison, jail and two years in the state psychiatric hospital. His arrest record dates back to 2009 and includes felony assault, arson, domestic violence, he even used his bodily fluid to harass jailers.

MACIT learned McDaniel, with the right medication and a large support team could change his life.

"Since he's come out a year and a half ago, he's never been hospitalized again, he's never committed a crime again, he's never had court violations, he's never had drank or used drugs again he has really been a totally different individual," says Michelle Stratman, his court-appointed guardian and Mental Health Counselor.

"I mean it's helped me with forgetting about the past, so if you ever think of a bad thing, delete that out of your head, and think of the future," McDaniel says.

MACI Top 5 Priorities for Change

  • Transitional and supportive housing upon release from jail or prison
  • Transportation
  • Bed capacity – psychiatry, crisis stabilization, detox
  • Define mental illness and track data
  • Jail data and information sharing – electronic records, screening, client roster exchanges with mental health and courts