If you watch just one video on mental illness in U.S. prisons…

make it this one.


Please watch this excerpt of Trapped: Mental Illness in America’s Prisons. What a powerful and accurate documentary award-winning photographer Jenn Ackermann has given to us all. Please visit her site to find out more about the film and her other work at jennackermann.com.

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“Group Working To Make Women’s Prisons More Women Friendly”

Please watch this video to see conversations with women at Tutwiler prison.  Special thanks to the Alabama Department of Corrections for making the conversations possible.

The Commission on Women and Girls in the Criminal Justice System met one on one with 10 inmates at Tutwiler Prison in Elmore County Monday. They came to the Wetumpka facility to hear from inmates about which programs they think work and which don’t.

“I think it’s about time. I’ve been doing time here in and out of this prison since 1982 and this is the first time it has every really happened,” Deborah Smith, inmate.

Department of Mental Health to hold public meetings in Birmingham


July 18, 2009

– Jennifer Horton

On July 16th the Alabama Department of Mental Health (DMH) announced a series of local planning meetings to be held in August and September of 2009.

The meetings will give families of children with mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, substance abuse issues, and intellectual disabilities the chance to participate in identifying local needs, setting goals, and evaluating their local system of care.

Additionally, the Department will provide an overview of their budget and review progress made to date toward goals generated during the last planning cycle.

For the first time Children’s Services will have its own separate sessions in the local planning process.  In the past children’s mental health issues were largely overshadowed in the local planning process by adult mental health concerns. These separate sessions mark a step forward in giving children’s mental health issues an equal voice in the
Birmingham area and throughout the state of Alabama.

Jefferson and Blount County Children’s Services will have combined meetings during this planning cycle.  The meeting for families receiving services for mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, and substance abuse will be held on August 27, 2009 from 6 – 8 pm at the Homewood Public Library.  The meeting for families receiving services for
intellectual disabilities will be held on September 15, 2009 from 10 am – 12 noon at Trinity United Methodist Church in Homewood.

The Meeting for Shelby County and Chilton County is September 15, 2009, not the 9th as originally reported, from 10 am – 12 noon at the Calera Community Center on Highway 31. This meeting is for all Children’s Service divisions including mental illness, emotional disturbance, substance abuse, and intellectual disability.

A complete listing of planning meetings state wide for both adults and children is available on the DMH website.

For more info: Jefferson Blount St. Clair Mental Health Authority, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Outcome report from FY 10 planning process for division of mental illness, Outcome report from FY 10 planning process for division of intellectual disabilities