The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) applauded members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for their overwhelmingly bipartisan vote to approve the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act (JMHCA) of 2013.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
To continue reading, click here.
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.