Jails: The Most Costly, Least Effective Treatment for Brain Injury
Sadly, the biggest single institutional provider for "treatment" for people with substance abuse, serious mental health disorders, and even some brain injuries are our jails. Dr. Paul Aravich talks about the need to focus on prevention rather than restoration.
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The issue of traumatic brain injury and incarceration is a really tragic one. We know that for behavioral problems the least effective, most costly place to deal with behavioral problems of that type, whether they be related to challenging behaviors associated with brain injuries or serious mental disorders or substance use disorders, the most costly, least effective place to deal with those challenging behaviors is in our jails. And we know when it comes to, for example, substance use disorders and serious mental disorders, the largest single institutional provider for treatment in those populations is our jails. Los Angeles County jail, Cook County jail, and Rikers Island are 1, 2, 3 with respect to that. Booker T. Washington said--or Du Bois, one of those individuals-- said a long time ago, "Better to build a child than to fix a broken adult." It's better to do preventative stuff than restorative stuff. f So to the extent we have wounded warriors who lack facilities, have barriers, perceived or real, for access to care, we need to figure out a way to address those barriers as a preventative strategy.
Posted on BrainLine February 14, 2013.
Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Justin Rhodes, and Erica Queen, BrainLine.
Paul Aravich, PhD is a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of Pathology and Anatomy, Geriatrics, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia.