Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Theresa A. Kessler




Public Health, Health Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-27-2023


Background Information In Indiana, individuals with mental illnesses are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. Rather than being evaluated and treated in a proper facility, such as public psychiatric hospitals, offenders are referred to jails and prisons. According to Ray, Sapp, et.al. (2016), “Studies have found the rate of serious mental illness in jail and prison ranges from 14 to 16 percent, a rate three to five times greater than the proportion of serious mental illness in the greater population.” Mentally ill offenders that are not receiving adequate representation while incarcerated are not getting access to resources needed once released, leading to an increase in health problems, lack of medication, help for mental illness, and recidivism rates (Lewandowski, 2018). Purpose The purpose of the intervention is to reduce recidivism rates among mentally ill offenders, increase knowledge of recovery from mental disorders, and evaluate goals met upon completion of the Recovery Works Program. Theoretical Foundation and Plan This educational intervention is based on the social cognitive theory to determine the availability of community based formal resources and social support networks while incarcerated. Each participant in the program will utilize at least one of the following re-entry resources: Re-Entry Funding, Community Funding, Recovery Residence Funding, Intensive Outpatient Treatment Funding, Discretionary Funding, Residential Treatment Funding, and After Care Funding. Recommendation and Conclusion Since the Recovery Works Program does not have consistent execution and monitoring across NWI, the proposed objectives will be applied and re-evaluated after 5 years of proper program implementation.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Makenzie Ward is a senior social work and sociology student at Valparaiso University. Her research evaluates the history of the lack of resources for mentally ill offenders in Indiana, solidifying the disproportionate representation of offenders in jails and prisons. Using her knowledge of theoretical frameworks, Makenzie reviewed the Indiana Recovery Works Program, and developed detailed objectives to improve the initiative.