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The issue addressed here is whether Medicaid leads to an advantage in access and receipt of services for another vulnerable group—persons with SMI when released from jail. Jails now process approximately 11.4 million persons each year and best estimates suggest that about 1 million of these persons have SMI (Morrissey et al., 2003). These individuals are among the most vulnerable and needy persons in the public mental health system.

This study assessed the extent to which Medicaid enrollment increased access to and use of services by persons with severe mental illness after their release from jail.

Report presented by Fred Osher about re-entry planning for those who are dealing with mental health issues, as well as identifying those who were Medicaid enrolled at the time of incarceration. Suspension of medicaid and eligibility upon release are also examined.

This brief outlines opportunities for states and local jurisdictions to improve public health and safety outcomes, and reduce spending on corrections and health care services by maximizing the appropriate use of Medicaid coverage for people involved with the criminal justice system.