Mental Health Press Releases

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Conference Promotes Improved Responses to People With Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System

WASHINGTON, D.C.—More than 300 criminal justice and mental health experts gathered today to share strategies that improve outcomes for justice-involved people with mental illnesses. The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, with the support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Office of Justice Programs, hosted this fifth national conference, which brings together researchers, practitioners, and public officials annually.

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.

Senate Passes the Reauthorization of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act

On September 26, 2008, the U.S. Senate passed the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Reauthorization and Improvement Act, S. 2304. The bill is expected to be taken up in the House this weekend for final approval and then be sent to the President for his signature.

S. 2304 reauthorizes the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) for an additional five years at $50 million per year. The bill also expands training for law enforcement to identify and respond appropriately to individuals with mental illnesses and supports the development of law enforcement receiving centers to assess individuals in custody for mental health and substance abuse treatment needs. MIOTCRA, PL 108-414, created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Grant Program (JMHCP) in 2004 to help states and counties design and implement collaborative efforts between criminal justice and mental health systems.