Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Jails Are Not Healthcare: With High Numbers of Inmates Suffering from Mental Illness, What Is the Difference between Correctional Facilities and Behavioral Healthcare?

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Jails Are Not Healthcare: With High Numbers of Inmates Suffering from Mental Illness, What Is the Difference between Correctional Facilities and Behavioral Healthcare?

Article excerpt

Architects are sensitive. It's true. Sometimes we get worked up about stuff that nobody else cares about. Right now I am worked up about a really great project I just saw. What?!? If it was great, then what's the problem? Well ...

I was invited to serve on the design awards jury for the 2014 Behavioral Healthcare Design Showcase. We looked at a wide variety of recent projects which showed not only how far this specialty has come, but how far we still need to go.

One of the projects submitted was a correctional facility in Canada. It is really good. I really liked it. One juror said, "I wish all behavioral healthcare projects were this good." I agree.

The problem as I see it: Jails are not healthcare. They use a lot of the same safety products and planning principles, particularly in a low security setting such as this one. This project team was very sensitive to creating an environment that would promote sociological healing for the inmates. It is easy to get confused. So why am I worked up?

Because jails are not healthcare and behavioral healthcare IS healthcare. Many folks in the healthcare world think of psych units as something else, something OTHER. …

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