On October 22, 2013, about 200 Oregon judges took part in the training module Judicial Work at the Interface of Mental Health & Criminal Justice, in Gleneden Beach, Oregon. Organized by the Oregon Judicial Department, the training was part of a half-day program devoted to criminal justice and mental health. The program included a presentation by mental health advocate and author Pete Earley, followed by the training module, which was led by Judge Steven Leifman of Miami-Dade County, FL, and Dr. Fred Osher, Director of Health Systems and Services Policy at the CSG Justice Center. The event marked the debut of a new set of skill-building video case studies that are now part of the Judicial Work at the Interface of Mental Health & Criminal Justice training module.
“Every Oregon judge sees defendants in criminal cases who appear to have mental disorders, many of whom are self-represented,” said Oregon Supreme Court Justice David Brewer. “Judicial Work at the Interface of Mental Health & Criminal Justice was an inspiring and informative program that gave our judges some useful tools to work productively and sensitively with those individuals, and prompted many to think about changes they might make in their courtrooms and their jurisdictions to improve outcomes on both an individual and system level.”
Judicial Work at the Interface of Mental Health and Criminal Justice is a four-hour live and interactive training designed for all judges who hear criminal cases. The program was created by judges and psychiatrists in partnership with the American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) and the CSG Justice Center, and with input from The National Judicial College and SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation.
Presented by pairs of expert judges and psychiatrists from the Judges’ Leadership Initiative for Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health and the Psychiatric Leadership Group for Criminal Justice, Judicial Work at the Interface of Mental Health and Criminal Justice prepares judges to
- define basic terminology related to mental disorders and co-occurring substance use disorders;
- articulate the role of criminogenic risk and how it affects individuals with behavioral health needs;
- explain the overrepresentation of individuals with mental disorders in the criminal justice system;
- improve interactions with individuals with behavioral health needs in their courtrooms; and
- achieve better outcomes for individuals with behavioral health needs in their jurisdictions.
The training includes video case studies illustrating issues that arise in the courtroom with discussions to build practical skills. It has been presented to judges in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Oregon, and will be presented in Utah in December 2013, Missouri in March 2014, and Texas in October 2014.
APF and the CSG Justice Center are now accepting applications from other states interested in arranging the training module for their judiciaries, for which presenters’ travel costs will be covered. To fill out our brief application, click here.