By Peter Granitz
The head of Montgomery County Correctional Facility is on Capitol Hill pushing Congress to pass a bill he says would make a smoother transition from jail to the outside world.
Montgomery County jails house about 1,100 prisoners in its three facilities. Warden Robert Green says 13 or 14 percent of them live with serious and persistent mental illness. If an inmate has a cognitive disability and is homeless at the time of arrest, he or she is likely to return to jail.
Warden says Congress could pass a bill currently in the House that would assure mentally ill people released from prison automatically receive social security income and disability to ease the transition.
"Some people, the reality is, will live the rest of their life on medication to deal with that serious illness," he says. "I would see a number of people that return to due the fact they don’t have medication or access to it."
Green says the first few hours of freedom are most important in determining whether a person returns to jail.