How States and Local Governments Can Ensure That Everyone Gets a Chance for Recovery

September 27, 2021

Individuals with mental illnesses and substance use disorders are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Although the justice system often functions as a de facto behavioral health care system, it tends to lack the necessary resources to provide adequate services.

This National Recovery Month, we are highlighting ways to improve state and local behavioral health and crisis response systems, so that people who need treatment can be prepared for healthy lives after release. This year’s theme, “Recovery Is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, and Every Community,” reminds us that everyone deserves access to behavioral health services that aid in recovery—including community members who are in the criminal justice system.

New resources are available to invest in crisis and diversion opportunities that can improve community health and safety. In particular, the American Rescue Plan offers substantial funding for states, local governments, and service providers to help build comprehensive health care systems and reduce involvement in the justice system among people with behavioral health needs.

When people’s needs are met early within their own communities, they are less likely to end up in cycles of incarceration. American Rescue Plan funds can help bolster existing state and local resources to strengthen early intervention and crisis systems, allowing communities to ensure that people with the highest needs have access to critical social services.

Please take our five-minute survey to share your community’s plans for using ARP funds to advance safety and justice priorities.

Learn more with these additional resources:

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