In January 2013, Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Representatives Richard Nugent (R-FL) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced S. 162/H.R. 401, the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act of 2013 (JMHCA). The legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last June and has 64 cosponsors in Congress.
News and Announcements
On February 4, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance released the solicitation for the Second Chance Act’s grant program for supervision initiatives, entitled “Smart Supervision: Reducing Prison Populations, Saving Money, and Creating Safer Communities.”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation recently released Guidelines for the Successful Transition of People with Behavioral Health Disorders from Jail and Prison.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) released a new policy brief in partnership with the Legal Action Center today, entitled Medicaid and Financing Health Care for Individuals Involved with the Criminal Justice System.
In this congressional briefing hosted by Sen. Chris Murphy (CT) and moderated by Council of State Governments Justice Center Director Michael Thompson, state and federal leaders will discuss successful, bipartisan approaches taken in Connecticut, Ohio, and Texas to address youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Not only have these states saved millions of dollars in spending and made changes to ineffective policies, but they have improved outcomes for children while keeping communities safe.
District Attorney Susan Reed of Bexar County, Texas has been appointed to the Council of State Governments Justice Center’s (CSG Justice Center) Board of Directors.
Washington, D.C.—In an extraordinary display of bipartisan cooperation, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Congressmen Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Howard Coble (R-NC), and Bobby Scott (D-VA) came together today to mark the five-year anniversary of the Second Chance Act and to announce that they, along with other Senate and House leaders, will be introducing legislation reauthorizing the landmark act today. To read the press release for this event, click here.
Washington, D.C.— White House staff joined leaders from the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Justice at a forum today entitled Bridging Reentry and Workforce Development: A Shared Approach to Strengthening Communities. The event was cohosted by the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) of the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and its partners at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
NEW YORK—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. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and U.S. Rep. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) in late January, 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, and resources for corrections systems and other collaborative approaches to improve responses to people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system. The bill now goes to a vote of the full Senate, before moving to the House of Representatives.
LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Law Revision Commission (MLRC) today launched a review of the state’s sentencing guidelines using a data-driven Justice Reinvestment approach to control corrections spending and reinvest a portion of the savings in strategies to reduce recidivism, hold offenders accountable and increase public safety. The process will include a review of the state’s 15-year-old sentencing guidelines.
WELLSBURG, W.Va. – On a visit to recognize the first adult drug court in West Virginia, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ceremonially signed Senate Bill 371, the Justice Reinvestment legislation, which is designed to increase public safety and improve the effectiveness of West Virginia’s criminal justice system by expanding the use of these types of drug courts throughout the state, among other changes.
TOPEKA, Kan.–Kansas Governor Sam Brownback today held a ceremonial signing for HB 2170, a bill that makes significant modifications to the state’s probation and post-release supervision policies with the goal of improving public safety while keeping corrections costs in check. The legislation stems from recommendations made by a bipartisan, inter-branch working group of Kansans over the past year.
TOPEKA, Kan.—The bipartisan Kansas Justice Reinvestment initiative, a research and data-driven program aimed at promoting public safety while reducing corrections spending, took one step closer to reality on March 1.
Justice Center in the News
Under the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, 25 states and the District of Columbia have broaden their health coverage for low-income individuals and the uninsured—the population the law was originally intended to help.
Gov. Dave Heineman wants to hold off on any consideration of building new prison cells until a comprehensive study of lower-cost alternatives is completed.
After 10 months of research, long hearings and hard work by all three branches of Idaho’s state government, the justice reinvestment bill won quick and unanimous support this afternoon in the House Judiciary Committee.
When it comes to fighting the war on drugs, community-based substance abuse treatment programs should be a tool that is readily available for the judicial system.
The Idaho Senate has voted unanimously in favor of the justice reinvestment bill, sending it to the House side. The 35-0 vote on SB 1357 followed enthusiastic debate in favor of the measure, which would invest in reforms to the state’s probation and parole system and community treatment programs, while moving to prioritize prison space for more-violent offenders.
Gov. Dave Heineman penned a one-paragraph letter last week that could put some needed heft behind legislative efforts to improve Nebraska’s prison system. The letter signals the administration’s willingness to consider outside, expert advice on how best to manage criminals before they re-enter society. For any governor, that step is rare.
After strong support from sheriffs, prosecutors, the courts and more, and lots of questions from lawmakers, the justice reinvestment bill, SB 1357, has won unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is headed to the full Senate.
Disruptive behavior continues to be one of the most challenging issues that schools face today. Even one seriously incompliant student can threaten teaching and learning for the rest of the class.
All sides, including lawmakers, courts, corrections officials, prosecutors and more, have reached consensus on criminal justice reinvestment legislation, with a new bill that was introduced this afternoon.
West Virginia will soon launch a program offering substance abuse treatment to people on parole or work release.