Why do prisons and jails need telepsychiatrists?

For a multitude of reasons, inmates deserve access to timely mental health treatment. In fact, access to adequate healthcare is protected under the 8th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution. Providing mental health treatment via telepsychiatry eases suffering and is, therefore, the right thing to do from a human perspective.

In addition, a healthier inmate population is more likely to behavior appropriately and conform to prison rules. This leads to a safer, more secure correctional facility. Furthermore, it is in the best interests of our communities for inmates to obtain mental health treatment when necessary. Paroling inmates with mental disorders have a better chance to function as productive members of society if they are under appropriate treatment of their mental disorders.

It is the responsibility of correctional mental health administrators to put in place services that adequately address mental health care needs of inmates in their facilities. Psychiatric treatment is a fundamental component of any comprehensive correctional mental health program.  Telepsychiatry is a powerful and effective tool that any correctional healthcare administrator ought to consider.

More and more, prisons and jails are turning to telehealth as a solution to ensure that inmates are obtaining timely and quality mental health services.


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