Harrisburg, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is changing the way it handles inmates with mental health and drug addiction problems. Department of Corrections secretary John Wetzel discussing those changes at the capitol today. These include programs such as medicated assisted treatment (known as M.A.T.), which offers inmates a variety of ways to deal with drug addiction. The D.O.C. is also providing enhanced training for staff to handle inmates with mental health problems.
"You have to address addiction and you have to address mental health," said John Wetzel, P.A. Department of Corrections secretary. "Some would argue there are gaps in the behavioral health safety net, both from an addiction standpoint and behavioral health standpoint. When someone falls through one of those gaps, they land in a state prison."
One quarter of all inmates in Pennsylvania prisons suffer from some form of mental illness. Inmates with drug addiction have doubled from 6 to 12% in the last 10 years.