Issue 25: Criminalization of the Mentally Ill

Goal: Reduce the number of individuals with psychiatric disorders entering the criminal justice system.


The number of individuals with psychiatric disorders in Alaska's correctional system has been steadily increasing. This is indicative of a system failure to identify and serve psychiatric disordered individuals with community based services. The Alaska Mental Health Board is committed to seeing this trend reversed. This will require cooperative efforts between the Departments of Law, Corrections and Health and Social Services. Readers are referred to the Mentally Ill Offenders Services Section of this plan for additional details. A summary of recommended actions follows; however, detailed steps are proposed in the Mentally Ill Offenders Services Section.


306. Ensure that a pilot diversion program is developed for mentally ill offenders. That includes, at a minimum, assessment and referral services.

307. Ensure that adequate mental health services exist for those mentally ill individuals who are incarcerated.

308. Ensure that adequate supervised living arrangements exist for mentally ill offenders leaving correctional facilities.

309. Ensure that adequate community programs exist that focus on prevention of recidivism.
Responsible party (actions 1-4): Department of Corrections, Alaska Mental Health Board, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority