How the American Rescue Plan Helps Criminal Justice Stakeholders Respond to Behavioral Health Crises

Past Event
June 15, 2021, 11:30 am – 12:45 pm, Eastern

Hosted by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in partnership with the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) 

States and communities around the country are actively developing local crisis systems to improve access to critical community-based care and services and ultimately reduce arrests and incarceration for people with behavioral health needs. But despite these efforts, communities continue to face gaps that hamper their ability to fully realize potential impacts. The passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act provides state and local governments with a desperately needed infusion of funding to both meet the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and address key funding gaps.  

This event introduces local criminal justice stakeholders to ways that ARP funding can help support collaborative crisis and early diversion responses to reduce criminal justice contact for people with behavioral health needs. Speakers focus on what local criminal justice stakeholders need to know to access new opportunities, ensure that resources reach the people who need them most and form partnerships. Speakers also highlight effective ways to advocate for local needs, particularly for programs where there is considerable state oversight (e.g., Medicaid). 


  • Alex Blandford, Program Director, Behavioral Health, CSG Justice Center  
  • Mark Larson, Senior Vice President, Leadership and Capacity Building, Center for Health Care Strategies 
  • Steve Allen, Behavioral Health Director, Oregon Health Authority (not confirmed) 
  • Brinda Penyak, Deputy Executive Director, ​County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (not confirmed) 

Watch the Discussion

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