Consensus Project

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CSG Justice Center Applauds U.S. House and Senate Members’ Introduction of the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.–U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and U.S. Rep. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) recently announced that they will be introducing bipartisan legislation with 25 cosponsors that would help improve access to mental health services for people who come into contact with the criminal justice system. The bipartisan Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act (JMHCA) of 2013 builds upon the successes of Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) and supports law enforcement training, mental health and veterans treatment courts, as well as provides resources for corrections systems and other collaborative approaches.

Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision

This webinar, held October 2, 2012 provided an overview of the report, “Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision: A Shared Framework for Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery.” This report provides a practical framework to assist corrections, mental health, and substance abuse policymakers and professionals to work collaboratively at the systems level to prioritize scarce treatment and supervision resources for the large number of adults with mental health and substance use disorders who cycle through the criminal justice system.

JMHCP Success Story: CIT and Outreach Program Work Together to Help Young Man and His Family

Over the course of a year, 17-year-old Robert became increasingly reclusive. He had stopped eating regularly and was often angry and easily agitated to the point of threatening his mother. On one such occasion, his mother feared for her safety and called the police. Officers assigned to a specially trained crisis intervention team (CIT) responded and persuaded Robert to let his mother take him to a hospital.

States Take Steps to Reduce the Prosecution of Youth in the Adult Criminal Justice System

A new national survey released by Gerstein, Bocian, Agne Strategies reveals that the majority of Americans support youth justice system reform. The study, which surveyed 1,000 adults from across the nation, shows that the public would support juvenile justice reform efforts that focus on rigorous rehabilitation over incarceration and against placing youth in adult jails and prisons.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • The public strongly favors rehabilitation and treatment approaches, such as counseling, education, treatment, restitution, and community service (89%);
  • The public rejects placement of youth in adult jails and prisons (69%);
  • Americans strongly favor involving the youth’s families in treatment (86%), keeping youth close to home (77%), and ensuring that youth are connected with their families (86%);
  • The public strongly favors individualized determinations on a case-by-case basis by juvenile court judges in the juvenile justice system over automatic prosecution in adult criminal court (76%);
  • Americans support requiring the juvenile justice system to reduce racial and ethnic disparities (66%);

These results are consistent with U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies that have concluded that juvenile transfer laws, which allow state courts to move youth to the adult system for trying and sentencing, are ineffective at deterring crime and reducing recidivism.

Webinar Archive: Fostering Criminal Justice/Mental Health Collaboration: Building Lasting Partnerships

In this webinar, held July 19, 2012, government and court officials from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania highlighted innovative efforts to bring together diverse stakeholders in planning and implementing criminal justice and mental health initiatives. In addition to discussing the successes and challenges they have experienced in their own state and counties, the presenters addressed how participants may adapt the Criminal Justice Advisory Board model for their own communities.

To watch an archived recording of this webinar, click here.

To download a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation used in this webinar, click here.

JMHCP Success Story: Crittenden County, Arkansas Program Improves Client’s Life

The Council of State Governments Justice Center — which coordinates the Criminal Justice / Mental Health Consensus Project — has been collecting stories about individuals whose lives have improved as a result of their involvement in a Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP)-funded grant program. This story is about a man enrolled in the Auglaize County (OH) Transition / Mental Health (ACT/MH) Program, the recipient of a 2010 JMHCP Planning and Implementation grant. We will publish one story a month (this is the first story published). If you would like to provide a story about a successful client in your JMHCP-funded program, please contact Stephanie Joson of the CSG Justice Center.

All names and other individually identifying details have been changed to preserve confidentiality.

Grant Program: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program
Grantee Type: Planning and Implementation
State: Arkansas
Grantee: Crittenden County
Program Name: Mental Health Court Program / Project Second Chance

42-year-old Christian was convinced an anarchist cult had planted bombs in his attic. He had a long history of mental illness, dating back to a psychiatric hospitalization as a teenager. His wife—with whom he lived, along with their three young children—was alarmed by his behavior and called the police. When the police decided to take him to the emergency room for a psychiatric review, Christian resisted; he kicked out the window of the squad car and dented the frame. At the hospital, he tested positive for amphetamines and marijuana. He admits that he regularly smoked pot and inhaled bath salts. “I’ve tried everything,” he said.

Christian was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal mischief and disturbing the peace. This wasn’t his first arrest; he’d previously been arrested for drug and firearm possession and had served five years of probation. After almost two months in jail, he chose to plead into Crittenden County’s Mental Health Court Program / Project Second Chance (MHCP / PSC) and received a six-month commitment (which was about twice as long as the jail sentence he would have had if he hadn’t pleaded into the program). He met the program’s criteria: past hospitalizations and incarcerations and a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and amphetamine and cannabis abuse.

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Illinois Launches Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health and Justice

On Thursday June 7th, the Illinois Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health and Justice celebrated its official opening at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine at Rockford. The Illinois Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health and Justice will equip communities across the state to respond appropriately to the needs of people with behavioral health disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system. The Center of Excellence will provide technical assistance, resources, and training to improve justice system responses to individuals with mental health and/or substance use disorders. Specifically, the Center of Excellence will contact counties and judicial circuits to provide evidence-based training; coordination and implementation assistance to create mental health courts, drug courts, and veterans’ courts; and alternatives to incarceration. The Center will also help train treatment providers to deal with the unique needs of individuals involved in the criminal justice system.

Webinar Archive: Ask the Doctor Webinar, May 21, 2012

In the third installment of the “Ask the Doctor” webinar series, Fred Osher, M.D., facilitated a conversation with JMHCP grantees on the principles of care associated with positive outcomes for individuals with co-occurring disorders. Dr. Osher, Director of Health Systems […]

JMHCP Success Story: Ohio Grant Program Helps Participant Get Clean and Avoid Crime

The Council of State Governments Justice Center — which coordinates the Criminal Justice / Mental Health Consensus Project — has been collecting stories about individuals whose lives have improved as a result of their involvement in a Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP)-funded grant program. This story is about a man enrolled in the Auglaize County (OH) Transition / Mental Health (ACT/MH) Program, the recipient of a 2010 JMHCP Planning and Implementation grant. We will publish one story a month (this is the first story published). If you would like to provide a story about a successful client in your JMHCP-funded program, please contact Stephanie Joson of the CSG Justice Center.

All names and other individually identifying details have been changed to preserve confidentiality.

Grant Program: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program
Grantee Type: Planning and Implementation
State: Ohio
Grantee: Auglaize County
Program Name: Auglaize County Transition/Mental Health (ACT/MH) Program

Danny has been arrested over a dozen times, and a quarter of his forty years have been spent behind bars. His first arrest was at age eight, his first detention when he was a little over 11 years old. He spent most of his teenage years locked up. His rap sheet reads like a laundry list: breaking and entering, assaulting a police officer, vandalism, eluding police officers (in a high-speed chase), disorderly conduct, and felonious and aggravated assault. He has a history of disruptive and rule-breaking behavior in prison. A former parole officer considers him the “most dangerous offender I ever supervised.”

He also has serious mental illness. First diagnosed as a teenager, his diagnoses include bipolar disorder, borderline paranoid schizophrenia, intermittent explosive disorder, and antisocial disorder. Though he’s been prescribed medication, he’s never really stayed on it for any period; instead, he’s self-medicated with both alcohol and pot. Because of his mental illness, he’s never been able to live in one place or hold a job for a long time. He’s been in-and-out of halfway houses and lived with family members who invariably lose patience with him and kick him out.

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Congressional Staff Briefed on Law Enforcement Responses to People with Mental Illnesses

Washington, D.C. — Law enforcement officials, judicial leaders, and behavioral health experts came together on March 6 to brief Congressional staff on the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) and the collaborative criminal justice-mental health programs that it supports. Dr. Fred Osherof the Council of State Governments Justice Center, Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County (MD) Department of Police, Inspector Bryan Schafer of the Minneapolis (MN) Police Department, and Judge Steven Leifman of Miami-Dade County Court spoke to key stakeholders and staff from numerous congressional offices, representing members of both parties.

As some of the nation’s foremost experts on implementing collaborative criminal justice-mental health programs, the panelists each shared their perspectives and/or experiences. Their testimonies underscored the fact that programs supported by MIOTCRA and similar grant initiatives are contributing in significant ways towards ending the cycles of arrest and incarceration for people with mental illnesses.

New JMHCP Grantees Convene for Orientation and Training

On March 8-9, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, in conjunction with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice, hosted the fourth annual orientation event for new Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grantees in Washington, D.C. During the event, FY 2011 grantees learned about keys to success in developing successful criminal justice/mental health collaborations, as well as the requirements of the grant program.

FY2011 JMHCP Grantee Orientation Event Agenda: March 8-9, 2012

Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C. To download a PDF of the agenda, click here. THURSDAY, MARCH 8th 8:00 am – 8:30 am Check-in and Registration [Empire Foyer] 8:30 am – 9:15 am Welcome and Introductions [Empire Ballroom] • Ruby Qazilbash, […]

Report Highlights Need for Changes in Oklahoma’s Behavioral Health Policies

Oklahoma policymakers have recently partnered with the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center in a comprehensive effort to reduce crime and corrections costs in the state. Early last month, the CSG Justice Center recommended that policymakers increase the number of crisis stabilization beds and treatment facilities in the state for individuals with acute mental health needs. The recommendation is one of several “justice reinvestment” measures outlined in a CSG Justice Center report on ways to improve efficiency in the state’s criminal justice system and reinvest savings in programs that increase public safety.

To read “Justice Reinvestment in Oklahoma: Analysis and Policy Framework,” click here.

State lawmakers are looking at the impact that shortages of crisis stabilization and treatment beds have had on municipal law enforcement agencies. The CSG Justice Center report shows how a shortage of crisis stabilization beds in Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city, has forced local law enforcement officers to expend significant time and resources transporting individuals to mental health facilities across the state. Officers made 180 such trips last year—traveling an average of 229 miles each trip, according to data analyzed by CSG Justice Center researchers.

Transporting individuals in crisis across the state has had a dramatic impact on health and budget outcomes. Not only does it delay connecting individuals to critical treatment services; it also removes officers from their regular duties (the state requires two officers for every transport). The agency must pay significant transportation costs, salaries for the officers making the trip, and overtime pay for officers required to compensate for the diverted patrol presence.

“Some smaller departments might have three, four, or five officers on the streets on a daily basis. When there aren’t enough [treatment] beds in Tulsa and you need to take someone somewhere else, you are taking officers off the street for two to four hours, or even more,” said Chief Ike Shirley, head of the police department in Bixby (a small city just outside Tulsa).

Sites Selected to Pilot New Mental Health Court Curriculum

The Council of State Governments Justice Center has identified four jurisdictions to serve as “pilot sites” for its forthcoming curriculum for practitioners interested in developing mental health courts. Stakeholders from the pilot jurisdictions will use an advance version of the course, which includes online presentations and group activities, and participate in focus groups throughout the fall and winter to help authors finalize it for broad release. The Justice Center will release the final version of the curriculum online–where users can access it for free–in spring 2012.

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CSG Justice Center Partners with NYC to Address High Rates of People with Mental Illnesses in the City’s Jails

The Council of State Governments Justice Center is partnering with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, the city’s Department of Correction, Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, and high-ranking city and state officials to help improve the city’s response to people with mental illnesses in jails and under community supervision. Justice Center researchers will analyze citywide criminal justice and health data in order to recommend policies that connect people with mental illnesses to treatment, reduce corrections spending, and improve public safety. The Justice Center’s Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project is coordinating the initiative, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation.

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Exploring the Moderating Effects of Mental Illness on Parole Release Decisions

This study examined whether or not the factors that primarily influenced parole release decisions were similar for inmates with and without mental illness. The study concluded that the lack of any moderating effects of mental illness on the risk factors for recidivism explored in this study suggests that an inmate’s mental illness does not play much of a role in parole release decisions.