Lessons Learned in Prison and Jail-Based Telepsychiatry [2019]

Purpose of Review
The purpose of this article is to review the unique benefits and challenges of implementing telepsychiatry in correctional facilities.

Recent Findings
Telepsychiatry has been shown to be an effective mode of patient care delivery in jails and prisons. Psychiatry staffing shortages nationwide are impacting the ability of correctional facilities to provide sufficient psychiatric care to inmates. However, telepsychiatry has helped alleviate the staffing shortages.

Correctional facilities are obligated to provide adequate psychiatry services to inmates in need of them. Unfortunately, many facilities are not able to recruit sufficient numbers of psychiatrists due to the nationwide shortage of doctors. Telepsychiatry is a way to meet these needs by providing services remotely. Telepsychiatry is an attractive option for providers who want to avoid some of the less pleasant aspects of working in a jail or prison. Also, telepsychiatry offers unique advantages to the way care can be given. However, there are also aspects of this mode of healthcare delivery that require systems to be thoughtful about how the doctor can best be integrated into the treatment team and the facility at large.

Edward Kaftarian
Current Psychiatry Reports, March 2019, 21:15