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Individuals with serious mental illness are overrepresented in the criminal justice system and face difficulties accessing mental health services both during incarceration and upon re-entry into the community. This study examines how such individuals describe their experiences receiving care both during and after their time in custody and explores the perspectives of mental health service providers who treat this population upon re-entry. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 43 individuals identified as having a history of serious mental illness and criminal justice involvement, as well as with 25 providers who have worked with this population. Clients noted the stress of transitioning to criminal justice settings, the uneven availability of services within jail and prison, and the significant challenges faced upon re-entry. Providers reported barriers to working with this population, including minimal coordination with the criminal justice system and challenging behaviors and attitudes on the part of both clients and providers. Findings identify potential target areas for improved care coordination as well as for additional provider education regarding the unique needs of this population. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.