Margaret Severson Faculty Profile



my scholarship is really all around issues of incarceration and justice social and criminal justice and has been focused really on all kinds of different populations particularly jails to identify and intervene with people who are at risk for suicide and I'm particularly interested in women's issues in criminal justice as well and the way I got interested in this which I hope inspires students very early on in my career I asked to help our local jail jail was having a crisis with suicides had had five suicides in a couple year period and many more attempts so I was asked to go in and help them develop a suicide prevention and mental health program and like many social workers and practitioners I began to look at the population trying to think about what really are the contributing factors here what people brought in with them poor health poverty often people of color alcohol other substance use issues serious mental illnesses these are multi-system users but really they had not been identified in the literature and they certainly had not been identified in this large jail system that I was working in so essentially you know kind of one by one I asked questions why why are why are they here what did they come in for is there a way to divert them to other services where their challenges might be better met than in this jail environment and of course the answer that was typically yes so I tested interventions I wrote about the program and what we were doing and kept data I think many social workers feel the same way they're working in agencies where they're excited and intrigued and they want to know more about what brings these people in for the assistance that are offered for me that was tapped kind of an award in an organ process I think the same is true for many of our Social Work students and our practitioners that we team up

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