New JMHCP Grantees Convene for Orientation and Training

On March 8-9, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, in conjunction with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice, hosted the fourth annual orientation event for new Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grantees in Washington, D.C. During the event, FY 2011 grantees learned about keys to success in developing successful criminal justice/mental health collaborations, as well as the requirements of the grant program.

U.S. Senator Al Franken welcomed the grantees via a videotaped message (see below), in which he stressed the importance of interagency collaboration to respond to people with mental illnesses in the justice system and the diversity and strengths of the FY 2011 JMHCP grantees.

Nearly 120 individuals—representing 40 FY 2011 grantees from 35 different states and territories—attended the event. Of the awarded sites, nine received planning grants, 27 received planning and implementation grants, and six received expansion grants. All grants required a joint application from a mental health agency and the unit of government responsible for criminal justice activities. The type of criminal justice-mental health collaboration varied jurisdiction by jurisdiction, with 11 grantees focusing on juvenile justice, three on law enforcement, 15 on courts, and 11 on corrections, community corrections, and reentry.

To view an agenda for the JMHCP orientation, click here.

“I am grateful for the opportunity I had to attend the JMHCP grantee orientation event. The entire program was excellent and I appreciate the organization and effort devoted to the presentations,” said Judge Glen R. Dawson of Utah’s 2nd District Court and presiding judge of the Davis County Mental Health Court. “It was also very worthwhile to meet the individuals who will be helping us with our grant and to spend some planning time with our Mental Health Court team.”

The event was structured around three common challenges that JMHCP grantees face during the planning and implementation process: targeting the right people for the right interventions, implementing evidence-based practices, and collecting data to ensure sustainability. Each of these topics was reinforced through a plenary session presented by CSG Justice Center staff, an expert consultant, and/or a past JMHCP grantee.

“As the field has learned from the JMHCP grantees, improving public safety and public health outcomes requires targeting those that pose the highest risk to commit new crimes and have the greatest needs, and providing them relevant evidence based practices,” said Dr. Fred Osher, Director of Health Systems and Services Policy, Council of State Governments Justice Center (and one of the primary planners of the orientation). “We can only know if we’re making progress by measuring the impact of the programs and translating lessons learned into informed policy and practice.”

In addition to plenaries, workshops covered a wide range of topics in order to provide grantees the opportunity to learn more about challenges and effective strategies related to their specific funded initiative. Workshops offered during the event included:

  • Planning 101: Ensuring Planning Leads to Implementation
  • Community Correctional Supervision of Individuals with Mental Illness: Best Practices and Common Challenges
  • Mental Health Disorders in Youth: Implications for Planning and Implementation of Juvenile Justice Programs
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Utilizing Cognitive Interventions in Criminal Justice/Mental Health Collaborations
  • Integrating Trauma-Informed Care into Criminal Justice/Mental Health Initiatives
  • Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment
  • Moving Beyond Mental Health Courts: Introduction to the Range of Court-Based Initiatives

Many grantees chose to split their team’s attendance across multiple presentations to maximize the information their team received at the event. Following each of the special topic presentations, grantees were afforded time to connect individually with presenters, who also represented a combination of CSG Justice Center policy staff and expert consultants.

Grantees also networked with their peers during smaller breakout sessions. In one session, participants were grouped by their professional role and shared lessons they had learned working with this population—such as how to balance their primary job responsibilities with the additional responsibilities of the grant initiative. In another session, participants broke into groups corresponding with the criminal justice agency involved in their collaboration (e.g., law enforcement, courts, corrections/community corrections/reentry), and shared their experiences implementing the risk, need, and responsivity (R-N-R) principles. In the final breakout session, participants reconnected with their teams to debrief on what they had learned during the event and how they could use this information towards enhancing their programs.

For more information about this event, please contact Jason Karpman at