The prison has been welcoming more and more people with mental disorders for about twenty years. The hypotheses put forward as to the causes of this trend are multiple. Changes to the psychiatric hospital (reduction in the number of hospital beds and development of outpatient care) would weaken the most marginalized patients, causing them to enter "a vicious circle of wandering, petty crime and successive incarcerations" according to sociologist Camille Lancelevée. It also highlights two legal developments: increasing penal severity and more common responsibility for the mentally ill. The sociologist also advances the deployment of psychiatric teams in penitentiary establishments which would give them "the appearance of an asylum of last resort". In French prisons, more than a third of people entering detention present a suicidal risk, almost half suffer from high anxiety disorders and 7% suffer from psychotic disorders, according to a study conducted by the Lille University Hospital in 2020. The proportion of people suffering from psychiatric disorders when entering prison is three times greater than that of the French population. They benefit from medical monitoring, but often live in isolation and are sometimes victims of ill-treatment. The work of caregivers is made difficult as prison seems to contribute to the production or aggravation of the mental disorders they have to manage. The vulnerability of patients makes detention an extremely traumatic ordeal and makes release a period of risk. Indeed, when the day of the release comes, many are worried and alone. In the Nord department, people leaving prison have to wait 25 days on average to get a first appointment in a Medico-Psychological Center. To make matters worse, the distress felt in the face of all the other reintegration procedures ultimately prevents a good number of individuals from attending this first or subsequent psychological assistance appointments.
In Lille, on the initiative of psychiatrists Tatiana Scouflaire and Thomas Fovet, a multidisciplinary team was created in September 2020 to best prepare for the release of these people from detention and ensure the transition with the existing care systems outside. This follow-up is voluntary and includes medical care and social support, thanks to a team of nurses, educators, social workers and psychiatrists. From inside to outside, the paths of patients are diverse, but the pitfalls they encounter repeat themselves. Their time in detention marks them, physically and psychologically. The same difficulties then systematically arise: prohibitions, obligations, numerous administrative procedures, interruptions in care, precariousness, isolation, etc.