Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Services Research & Administration

First Committee Member

Nizar Wehbi MD, MPH, MBA

Second Committee Member

Nicole Kolm-Valdivia PhD, MPH, CHES

Third Committee Member

Brandon Grimm PhD, MPH


Mental Health Illness is on the rise in the United States. About 90% of incarcerated individuals have at least one mental health condition. The current federal and state incarceration systems do not seem to be well-equipped to transition an incarcerated individual to the civilian life. This is so because the incarceration system focuses too much on the punishment rather than rehabilitation. This framework could be deemed unsafe and dangerous to the civilian world once a prisoner gets released, due to incarcerated individuals not receiving adequate mental health treatment. This literature review highlights the flaws of the current incarceration system mental health programs, in order to be able to innovate and implement better mental health programs. Innovations should focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment. This includes opportunities of education, proper mental health treatment consistency, and new real world simulations for rehabilitation. The goal is to reform mental health care in the incarceration system in order to decrease mental health disorder prevalence within the incarceration system, reduce quantity of repeat incarcerations, and create a safer transition towards civilian life.