Jail Transitions and Rural Communities: Implications for Practice and Policy

Published:October 07, 2022DOI:


      • Transitions from jail to the rural community for individuals who experience mental illness are complex situational and health illness transitions.
      • Continuity of care is best supported through interdisciplinary collaboration.
      • Policy change is needed to support practice and promote quality outcomes for this high-risk population.


      Individuals who experience mental illness and are transitioning from jail into rural communities have high rates of health disparities and face unique challenges when attempting to access health care, which is further complicated in the context of rurality. Continuation of justice system requirements often presents further barriers, including lack of continuity between health care providers, lack of bridge medications from jail to community, transportation barriers, and competing requirements between justice system obligations and health care system needs. Health care providers can identify barriers within these patient populations; yet, interventions are limited when unidirectional. Advocacy for policy change is needed.


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      Carrie Ann Langley, PhD, MPH, RN, is an assistant professor of practice at the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tucson, and can be contacted at [email protected] .