Judges’ Leadership Initiative | JLI
In 2004, the Judges' Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative (JLI) was initiated to bring judges from all levels of state judiciaries together to improve judicial understanding of, and responses to, individuals with mental illnesses in our nation's courts. In 2012, the JLI expanded its focus to include justice-involved individuals with behavioral health issues, and the organization is now the Judges’ Leadership Initiative for Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health.
The JLI's mission is to stimulate, support, and enhance efforts by judges to take leadership roles on criminal justice/behavioral health issues to improve judicial, community, and systemic responses to justice-involved people with behavioral health issues.
Led by an advisory board comprising judges from around the country, the organization includes representatives from the National Center for State Courts, the National Judicial College, and Policy Research Associates and staff support from the CSG Justice Center.
Since its establishment, the JLI has promoted improved understanding of the effective responses to defendants with mental illnesses through three "benchbooks"—the Judges' Guide to Mental Health Jargon, the Judges' Guide to Mental Health Diversion Programs, and the Judges’ Guide to Juvenile Mental Health Jargon; the benchcard Judges' Guide to Mental Illnesses in the Courtroom, technical assistance to state supreme court chief justice-led planning efforts in 11 states; and a collaborative outreach effort with Veterans Affairs on addressing the needs of criminal-justice involved individuals who have served in the military.
From 2010 to the present, the JLI has partnered with the American Psychiatric Foundation and a newly convened Psychiatric Leadership Group for Criminal Justice to develop a training module for judges on mental illnesses in the courtroom and a bench card on observations and recommended responses for judges who believe mental illness may be affecting a defendant appearing in court. The module has been presented to enthusiastic audiences in Illinois and Wisconsin, and in the fall of 2012, the JLI prepared pairs of judges and psychiatrists to present it to additional groups of judges beginning in the fall of 2013. For more information about this partnership, please click here.
To sign up to receive updates from the JLI, please email Jacqueline Cheney. Your email should include your name, title, court/organization, state, and email address.
To order paper copies of the Judges' Guide to Mental Health Jargon, the Judges' Guide to Mental Health Diversion Programs, or the Judges’ Guide to Juvenile Mental Health Jargon, please click here.
For more information about the training Judicial Work at the Interface of Mental Health and Criminal Justice, please click here.
The JLI has produced three "benchbooks" for judges: the Judges' Guide to Mental Health Jargon, the Judges' Guide to Mental Health Diversion Programs, and the Judges’ Guide to Juvenile Mental Health Jargon.