New Resource Highlights How Psychiatrists Can Help Patients Who Have Serious Mental Illnesses Reduce Their Risk of Contact with the Justice System

September 20, 2017

The Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative (JPLI) released Supporting People with Serious Mental Illnesses and Reducing Their Risk of Contact with the Criminal Justice System, a primer developed for psychiatrists to better understand the principles of the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model and address the forensic needs of patients who have serious mental illnesses (SMIs) and a criminal justice history. As leaders in behavioral health, psychiatrists are in a unique position to address these patients’ complex needs, but may need further training on how to identify those needs.

With expert input from leading clinical and forensic psychiatrists, this primer provides the following:

  • An overview of how a person moves through the criminal justice system
  • Ways to discuss and obtain patients’ criminal justice history
  • Basic principles of the RNR Model, which is used by criminal justice professionals to identify the factors that contribute to person’s risk of recidivism and tailor interventions based on the identified factors

Psychiatrists who understand the ways in which these patients’ needs are informed by their criminal justice history can help their patients achieve their recovery goals and reduce their chances of contact with the criminal justice system by incorporating interventions that address these patients’ criminogenic risks and needs into their treatment plans.

The primer was developed with the support of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF).

The JPLI aims to stimulate, support, and enhance efforts by judges and psychiatrists to improve judicial, community, and systemic responses to people with behavioral health needs who are involved in the justice system by:

  • Creating a community of judges and psychiatrists through web-based and in-person trainings, and the development and distribution of a newsletter to judges and psychiatrists;
  • Increasing the reach of trainings in order to build the non-clinical skills of court professionals, which will help improve individual and public safety outcomes;
  • Developing educational resources to increase judges’ and psychiatrists’ understanding of the latest research and best practices for people with mental illnesses involved in the justice system.

Read the primer here.

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