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The Guidance Center Releases Free Roll Call Mental Health Training Series for Police Departments Across the Country

The Guidance Center Releases Free Roll Call Mental Health Training Series for Police Departments Across the Country

A new series of free web-based training modules that provide officers with effective tools for readily recognizing signs of mental illness and interacting with people who may be in crisis has been produced through a partnership between The Guidance Center (a nonprofit child and family mental health service provider) and the Los Angeles Police Department, the Long Beach Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Groundbreaking 50-State Report on Public Safety Updated with 2017 Data

Groundbreaking 50-State Report on Public Safety Updated with 2017 Data

The CSG Justice Center has released an updated version of the 50-State Report on Public Safety that includes 2017 crime and arrest data. The report is a web-based resource that combines extensive data analyses, case studies and recommended strategies from all 50 states to help policymakers address their state’s specific public safety challenges.

North Dakota Explores Expanding Alternatives to Incarceration and Behavioral Health Services for People in the Criminal Justice System

North Dakota Explores Expanding Alternatives to Incarceration and Behavioral Health Services for People in the Criminal Justice System

At a recent North Dakota Justice Reinvestment Oversight Committee meeting, CSG Justice Center staff highlighted recent decreases in prison admissions that resulted from alcohol and drug offenses and probation revocations. These declines seem to be the cause of a 6.5-percent drop in the state’s total prison population in FY2018, which exceeded expectations, and have reinforced the state’s efforts to increase behavioral health services for people in the criminal justice system.

Reentry Essentials: Addressing Mental Health Needs among People in the Criminal Justice System

Reentry Essentials: Addressing Mental Health Needs among People in the Criminal Justice System

A disproportionate number of people in the nation’s criminal justice system face mental health issues: a Bureau of Justice Statistics report found, for example, that people in U.S. prisons and jails are three to five times more likely to experience serious psychological distress than the general adult population. While there is an overwhelming need to provide effective treatment, challenges exist in quantifying the extent of that need and taking a strategic approach across systems—from law enforcement to community-based reentry services.

Stepping Up Initiative Expands Push for Counties to Collect Data on Number of People in Jails Who Have Mental Illnesses

Stepping Up Initiative Expands Push for Counties to Collect Data on Number of People in Jails Who Have Mental Illnesses

The Stepping Up initiative recently launched a national effort to help counties collect accurate, accessible data on the number of people entering their jails who have mental illnesses. As part of the effort, seven rural and urban “Innovator Counties” have been selected as models for their expertise in accurately identifying these individuals and consistently collecting data on them.

Baltimore County to Further Improve Crisis Response System Based on Independent Assessment

Baltimore County to Further Improve Crisis Response System Based on Independent Assessment

The Baltimore County, Maryland, county executive recently released a report that provides recommendations for the county to better position its police-mental health collaboration (PMHC), the Baltimore County Crisis Response System, to provide an effective and comprehensive response that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and maximizes both public safety and health outcomes.

From “What If” to Real Results: U.S. Police Departments Explore Innovative, Collaborative Ways to Address Growing Mental Health Crisis

From “What If” to Real Results: U.S. Police Departments Explore Innovative, Collaborative Ways to Address Growing Mental Health Crisis

“When we looked at the types of calls that were coming into the police department . . . they were very similar to the calls that we would receive on the crisis line at the Harris Center,” said Harris Center program director Jennifer Battle. “So one day, we said, ‘well, you know, it seems like an unfortunate utilization of resources to have officers go out to these calls that the crisis line is [fielding] all day long, every day, using mental health and counseling skills as opposed to law enforcement.’”

Congress Approves FY18 Funding Levels for Criminal Justice Programs

Congress Approves FY18 Funding Levels for Criminal Justice Programs

Recently, the U.S. Congress approved the $1.3 trillion Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill that would set government funding through Sep. 30, 2018. The bill provides $30.3 billion for the Department of Justice and includes $2.9 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.

Arkansas Opens First Crisis Stabilization Unit

Arkansas Opens First Crisis Stabilization Unit

Arkansas’s first crisis stabilization unit (CSU) opened in Sebastian County on March 1 with high praise from Governor Asa Hutchinson. This center, which will provide services to people experiencing mental health crises, is the first of four such centers planned across the state. Officials are hopeful that it will serve as a model that other states can follow.

Megan Quattlebaum Named Director of the CSG Justice Center

Megan Quattlebaum Named Director of the CSG Justice Center

The Council of State Governments (CSG) recently announced that Megan Quattlebaum, research scholar in law at Yale University Law School and lecturer in law at Columbia University Law School, will be the next director of The CSG Justice Center.

Planning Guide for JMHCP Category 2 Grantees

This guide from the CSG Justice Center is intended to support recipients of Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grants administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Implementation and Expansion Guide for JMHCP Law Enforcement Grantees

This guide is tailored to Category 3 Law Enforcement grantees that are primarily focused on implementing specialized police responses or police-mental health collaboration programs, including (but not limited to) crisis intervention teams and co-responder models.

Implementation Guide for JMHCP Category 3 Grantees

This guide from The Council of State Governments Justice Center is intended to support recipients of Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grants administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. It is not intended to serve as a step-by-step blueprint, but […]

400th County Joins Stepping Up

In a little more than two years, more than 400 counties—representing 43 states and 40 percent of the U.S. population—have joined Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails.

North Dakota Allocates M for Addiction Treatment and Passes Bills to Help Reduce Prison Population Growth

North Dakota Allocates $7M for Addiction Treatment and Passes Bills to Help Reduce Prison Population Growth

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed legislation on April 21 that enables the state to appropriate $7 million from the general fund to increase the quality of community-based behavioral health treatment for people in the criminal justice system and an additional half a million dollars to increase the number of treatment providers to serve this population, which can significantly reduce recidivism and improve public health outcomes.

Pennsylvania Stepping Up Initiative to Tackle Mental Illness in County Jails

Pennsylvania Stepping Up Initiative to Tackle Mental Illness in County Jails

“Every single meeting that I have with law enforcement, the number one issue that comes up is about people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system,” said John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and chair of the CSG Justice Center board. “That’s why I’m excited about the Stepping Up Initiative, which takes a data-driven approach to solving this problem and addressing the needs of the individual at the local level.”

In ‘Cures’ Bill, Keys to Further Criminal Justice Improvements

In ‘Cures’ Bill, Keys to Further Criminal Justice Improvements

Before the confetti is swept up in celebration of the President’s signing of the 21st Century Cures Act, let’s make sure an important takeaway isn’t lost in the fanfare: this bipartisan bill also illustrates the type of improvements to the criminal justice system everyone can get behind.

U.S. Senate Approves 21st Century Cures Act

U.S. Senate Approves 21st Century Cures Act

Within the wide range of initiatives the omnibus bill supports are several significant criminal justice reform measures related to the issue of mental health, including the enactment of the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act and the reauthorization of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act.

New England Conference Highlights Regional Approach to Reentry

New England Conference Highlights Regional Approach to Reentry

The conference, which was hosted by United States attorneys of the six New England Districts—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine—uplifted the region’s approach to reentry efforts. Rather than focusing on individual locales, service providers, policymakers, and correctional agencies throughout New England collaborate to ensure a unified approach.

Judge Steven Leifman Named A ‘Public Official of the Year’

Judge Steven Leifman Named A ‘Public Official of the Year’

Judge Steven Leifman of Miami-Dade County, Florida was recently named “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine for his commitment to addressing the high prevalence of mental illness among people in the criminal justice system.

Medication-Assisted Treatment: Federal Investment and Local Implementation

Medication-Assisted Treatment: Federal Investment and Local Implementation

“[These] actions represent further steps to expand access to treatment, prevent overdose deaths, and increase community prevention strategies,” said the Obama Administration in an announcement in March. “These actions build on the president’s proposal for $1.1 billion in new funding to help every American with an opioid use disorder who wants treatment get the help they need.

Hamilton Project Panel Stresses Importance of Reentry Programs

Hamilton Project Panel Stresses Importance of Reentry Programs

Individual panelists offered differing perspectives on what work needs to be done to reduce recidivism, but the group agreed that there are a number of straightforward, nonpartisan measures that state and local governments can adopt in order to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

BJA Launches Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit at National Conference

BJA Launches Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit at National Conference

Highlighting the role of police departments in advancing these approaches, BJA announced the Police-Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC) Toolkit at the 2016 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in San Diego, California. The PMHC Toolkit was developed in partnership with The Council of State Governments Justice Center and gathers best practices and resources to help law enforcement agencies partner with mental health providers to respond appropriately and safely to people with mental illnesses.

Q&A with Utah’s Assistant State Courts Administrator Richard Schwermer

Q&A with Utah’s Assistant State Courts Administrator Richard Schwermer

The Council of State Governments Justice Center talked to Richard Schwermer, Utah’s assistant state courts administrator, about mental health courts in his state and his use of Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum, the CSG Justice Center’s free online multimedia curriculum for people and teams seeking to start, maintain, or learn about mental health courts.

Two Counties Use Online Mental Health Court Curriculum to Work Toward Program Sustainability

Two Counties Use Online Mental Health Court Curriculum to Work Toward Program Sustainability

For many jurisdictions, sustaining a mental health court program can prove challenging both monetarily and in terms of staff capacity. Grant funding often provides the seed money to plan or launch a mental health court. But obtaining additional funds to keep the program running once grants run out requires leveraging other funding streams and maintaining strong partnerships with stakeholders.

When Police Deal with People Who Have Mental Health Issues

When Police Deal with People Who Have Mental Health Issues

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the recent report issued by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice condemning various police practices in Baltimore. What has gone largely unmentioned, however, is the report’s detailed review of how encounters between police and people with mental illnesses result in “unnecessarily violent confrontations.”

A Message from The CSG Justice Center’s Executive Committee Chair and Vice-Chair

A Message from The CSG Justice Center’s Executive Committee Chair and Vice-Chair

The tragedies of the past week weigh heavily on us. As public safety officials in our respective states, we were outraged to see the very people working to protect the public murdered because of the uniform they wear. We also feel deeply for residents of communities who, because of the color of their skin, fear the people who have sworn an oath to protect them.

Franklin County, Salt Lake County Each Allocate Millions to Improve Local Jail Systems

Franklin County, Salt Lake County Each Allocate Millions to Improve Local Jail Systems

Two counties—one in Ohio, the other in Utah—are backing their words with action following separate reports from The Council of State Governments Justice Center that highlighted major disparities in the length of time people with serious mental illnesses stay in each county’s local jail and the rate at which they’re rearrested following their release compared to people with out these illnesses.

A Second Chance at Recovery for Women in Wilmington, North Carolina

RESET, which is funded by a 2014 Second Chance Act grant, is a six-month program designed specifically for women and implemented through a partnership between a residential reentry center and a nonprofit behavioral health agency. A typical participant in RESET has a co-occurring substance use and mental disorder and a moderate- to high-risk of committing another crime.

Berrien County, MI, Expands Training, Collaboration Around Juvenile Justice

Berrien County, MI, Expands Training, Collaboration Around Juvenile Justice

The Family Division of the Berrien County Trial Court in Michigan decided in 2001 that its juvenile justice practices simply weren’t working. That meant restructuring the county’s juvenile justice procedures around evidence-based practices, starting by using risk assessments to determine which youth were more likely to commit another offense and thus required more intensive interventions and supervision.

Bexar County Awarded Grant to Provide Attorneys to People with Mental Illnesses

Bexar County Awarded Grant to Provide Attorneys to People with Mental Illnesses

The Texas Indigent Defense Commission—chaired by Sharon Keller, presiding judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals—unanimously approved a $600,000 grant to be dispersed over four years for the Bexar County (San Antonio) Public Defender’s Office to provide attorneys at the initial court hearings of people who are indigent and have mental illnesses.

Q&A with Julian Adler of the Red Hook Community Justice Center

Q&A with Julian Adler of the Red Hook Community Justice Center

As the nation’s first multijurisdictional community court, the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn has served as a neighborhood hub for clinical services, community service, youth programs, and other social supports since its founding in 2000.

DC Courts Are Connecting Individuals with On-Site Treatment

DC Courts Are Connecting Individuals with On-Site Treatment

Having an urgent care clinic located only feet away from courtrooms allows judges and court staff to guarantee that people have access to services. For many defendants, this may be the first contact they’ve had with a mental health professional. Moreover, for some, this treatment may well reduce the likelihood that they will be arrested in the future.

Seeking Advances in Risk Communication

Seeking Advances in Risk Communication

In December, the National Reentry Resource Center and Dr. R. Karl Hanson and Dr. Guy Bourgon of Public Safety Canada hosted a second convening in a series of meetings focused on instituting a common language for improved risk communication.

Law Enforcement, Health Advocates, and Members of Congress Push to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails

Law Enforcement, Health Advocates, and Members of Congress Push to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails

Programs that can help reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails, ranging from police training to certified peer support, are the basis for a new wave of national efforts highlighted Tuesday as Congressional leaders joined the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and the National Association of Counties (NACo) to discuss potential federal reforms and a new national initiative driven by the two organizations.

Salt Lake County Launches Study of Criminal Justice System

Salt Lake County Launches Study of Criminal Justice System

The Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) today announced plans for a comprehensive analysis of Salt Lake County’s jail population in an effort to identify ways to reduce reoffense rates among people released from jail and design strategies to improve outcomes for the large portion of the jail population struggling with mental and/or substance use disorders.

Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program Grant Recipients Convene for Orientation and Training

Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program Grant Recipients Convene for Orientation and Training

To help federal grant recipients learn how to develop successful criminal justice and mental health collaborations, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, with support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, hosted its fifth annual training and orientation conference, “Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery” on May 13–14 in National Harbor, Maryland.

2014 State-of-the-States

In state-of-the-state addresses across the country this year, governors noted significant improvements to their states’ criminal justice systems. No longer solely focused on imposing tougher penalties for all crimes, states are increasingly making efforts to strengthen community supervision and use […]

Kansas Increases Access to Behavioral Health Services for People on Community Supervision

Kansas Increases Access to Behavioral Health Services for People on Community Supervision

As part of implementing the state’s justice reinvestment legislation, which Governor Sam Brownback signed into law in May 2013, Kansas has allocated this upfront “reinvestment” to hire 40 experienced service providers in community corrections departments and community-based organizations throughout Kansas to increase access to behavioral health treatment for people on probation.

Mental Health Court Curriculum Highlighted at Alabama Event

Mental Health Court Curriculum Highlighted at Alabama Event

On February 12, 2014, Council of State Governments Justice Center staff led two training sessions on the Mental Health Court Curriculum at the Alabama Association of Drug Court Professionals Annual Training event in Montgomery.

Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change Resource Center

Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change Resource Center

This new online resource center from the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research Inc. offers a collection of resources that focus on the following topics: mental health screening, diversion models, mental health training for juvenile justice staff and police, evidence-based practices, family involvement, and juvenile competency.

State-Level Trainers Learn To Use the Mental Health Court Curriculum

State-Level Trainers Learn To Use the Mental Health Court Curriculum

Charged with supporting and providing technical assistance to problem-solving courts in their states, a group of state-level trainers came together last month for a train-the-trainer event on how to use Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum—a free, online curriculum that offers research and best practices on designing and implementing mental health courts.