JMHCP Applicant Resource Guide
Here is a catalog of resources and tools that JMHCP grant applicants can use in preparing an application for a solicitation. The resources are organized into two sections: Framing the Problem and Writing the Grant. Click on the links below to jump to a particular section.
Framing the Problem
Many successful grant applications have begun with a careful analysis of the scope of the problem in their particular jurisdiction. When describing your jurisdiction, it is important to document the frequency of contact between law enforcement and people with mental illnesses, the prevalence of people with mental illnesses in the local jail, or some other aspect of the problem. Concrete statistics can often lead to important policy or staffing changes that improve services and begin to address the root causes of the problem. The following resources are intended to assist JMHCP grant applicants in successfully analyzing the scope of the problem within their jurisdiction.
Consensus Project Resources:
Overview of the Consensus Project Report
People with mental illnesses are overrepresented in all parts of the criminal justice system—in their contact with law enforcement, in the courts, in jails and prisons, and in parole and probation caseloads across the country. The problem affects both rural and urban communities, and is prevalent in both large and small states. For a concise background on the extent of the problem and some supporting statistics, consult the overview of the Consensus Project Report.
- Collaboration Assessment Tool
In framing the problem, it is important to indentify the need for a meaningful collaboration between the criminal justice and mental health systems. To support this effort, the Justice Center has created worksheets to help applicants assess their existing level of collaboration. Applicants can use responses generated from the worksheets to identify administrative actions that should be implemented in order to successfully address the problem at hand.
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) publishes reports that analyze trends in crime, incarceration, and criminal justice spending. BJS has also published reports specifically on the intersection between mental health and criminal justice, including the frequently referenced "Mental Health and Treatment of Inmates and Probationers" (1999). Applicants can use reports published by BJS to compare known trends within their jurisdiction to what is reported by BJS at the state and/or national level.
- National Institute of Justice
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) publishes reports that evaluate the effectiveness of various criminal justice programs and technologies. Of particular note is NIJ's Mental Health Screens for Corrections, which compares the accuracy of two different mental health screening questionnaires. Applicants can use reports published by NIJ to identify evidence based interventions that would be appropriate for the problem affecting their jurisdiction.
Data Gathering Tools:
- US Census - Data Access Tools
The US Census Bureau provides data access tools that allow users to search demographic information by state, county, and city. Searchable data includes population density, income, health coverage enrollments, and other relevant demographic information. Applicants can use this data to describe the general population of their jurisdiction, which is requested in the program abstract component of the JMHCP application.
- Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics – Table Building Tool
The Uniform Crime Reporting Program collects statistics for violent crime and property crime. By using the table-building tool, users can specify offenses, localities, and years of interest in order to calculate illustrative crime indicators such as volume, rate, and trend. Applicants can use these indicators to further define the law enforcement needs facing their jurisdiction.
- Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention – Data Analysis Tools
The Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention has developed a suite of web-based data analysis tools that provide access to recent, detailed information on juvenile crime and the juvenile justice system. Users can search national, state, and county juvenile population counts, as well as information on juvenile arrests, juvenile court case processing, and juvenile offenders in residential placement facilities.
Writing the Grant
Securing federal funding is a highly competitive process. Given this challenge, it is important to develop both a compelling project idea and a compelling written proposal. The following resources are intended to assist JMHCP grant applicants in successfully transforming their project idea into an organized, informative, and persuasive proposal.
- 2011 JMHCP Solicitation
The JMHCP Solicitation provides information about eligibility, deadlines, requirements, selection criteria, and the review process. Carefully reading the solicitation and explicitly addressing each request for information is essential to writing a successful grant application.
- BJA Grant Writing Academy
This video training provides an overview of project planning, management, administration, and assessment of federally funded programs. The training also covers the pre-application and application process, including tips on how to present application materials, how applications are reviewed, and what an applicant can expect in terms of next steps and timing of award announcements.
- BJA Grant Writing Manual
This training manual covers similar information as the BJA Grant Writing Academy, but in greater length and detail. Helpful additional content includes questions for framing the project narrative and abstract, example performance measures, a budget template, high and low scoring examples of applications, and examples of actual peer reviewer comments.
- Example Applications
Reviewing proposals from former grantees can be helpful in identifying the strengths of a successful application. To support this effort, BJA posts examples of applicants that were recommended for funding in FY 2010.