This brief is designed to help counties identify the number of people booked into jails who have serious mental illnesses (SMI) and to better connect these individuals to treatment. Determining the number of people who have SMI in jails allows counties to develop or refine strategic plans that will have the greatest impact on addressing this population’s needs.
Mental Health Publications
The Justice Center, with the support of its funders and project partners, develops a range of practical, nonpartisan, and consensus-based publications– informed by available evidence–for policymakers, practitioners, and others involved in improving the response to people with mental illnesses involved in the criminal justice system.
justice center publications
The Stepping Up County Self-Assessment is designed to assist counties interested in evaluating the status of their current efforts to reduce the prevalence of people who have mental illnesses in jails.
In September 2016, Baltimore County, Maryland’s county executive asked the CSG Justice Center to conduct an independent assessment of its law enforcement and behavioral health collaboration, the Baltimore County Crisis Response System, which helps the county respond to people who have behavioral health needs. This report describes the assessment’s methodology, highlights key findings, and discusses those recommendations and strategies.
Based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis, and with the guidance of members of the county’s Criminal Justice Advisory Board and other senior county and state leaders, five key findings were identified that prompted the development of a set of strategic policy recommendations to improve outcomes for people in Dauphin County’s criminal justice system who have SMI. This report includes the key findings and policy recommendations.
The Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative released Practical Considerations Related to Release and Sentencing for Defendants Who Have Behavioral Health Needs: A Judicial Guide and an accompanying bench card, which were developed with the support of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation and the CSG Justice Center.
The CSG Justice Center, in partnership with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST), recently released the results of a national survey on state law enforcement training standards for responding to people with mental illnesses.
This report serves as a blueprint for counties to assess their existing efforts to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jail by considering specific questions and progress-tracking measures.
The National Reentry Resource Center recently released Critical Connections—a discussion paper that identifies key questions state and local leaders should ask as part of their efforts to help people leaving prison and jail with mental health needs get community-based treatment.
These checklists can help law enforcement, behavior health, and local leaders determine whether their Police-Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC) programs align with promising practices for improving outcomes for law enforcement encounters with people with mental illnesses or who are in mental health crisis.
This snapshot provides details on the Ramsey County, Minnesota, Mental Health Court Learning Site—how it functions, whom it serves, and what makes it unique.
This series of publications from the International Association of Chiefs of Police offers guidelines for law enforcement officers when responding to situations involving people reasonably believed to be in crisis.
This tip sheet from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s GAINS Center draws on research that has implications for people of racial and ethnic minority backgrounds who have mental illnesses or substance addictions who often face substantial barriers to accessing community-based services prior to their justice involvement.
This report from the National Conference of State Legislators provides legislators with the tools they need to consider cost effective policies that both respond to mental health issues and enhance public safety.
This publication from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness lays out a plan for ending homelessness that focuses on identifying and describing essential federal strategies to build effective, lasting systems that aim to work both in the present and to be able to respond quickly and efficiently when housing instability and homelessness occur in the future.
This publication from the Community Oriented Policing Services Office aims to highlight best practices for law enforcement agencies when managing contact with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis by using the Park Ridge, Illinois Police Department as a case study.
This issue brief from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation examines data related to the Medicaid expansion included in the Affordable Care Act, including savings related to offsetting state costs in other areas, including those related to behavioral health services, crime, and the criminal justice system.
This publication from Disability Rights California (DRC) examines conditions in San Diego County jails in 2015. After visiting the jails, talking to prisoners and staff, and looking at records, DRC discovered a disturbingly high suicide rate.
This report from the National Association of Counties explains Medicaid’s role in the U.S. healthcare system and its benefit to counties in particular, especially in the areas of behavioral health and treatment for substance use disorders.
This resource from Human Impact Partners provides a list of 36 replicable programs or interventions and 25 policies that respond to social challenges with public health solutions rather than punitive criminal justice processes.
This report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shines the spotlight on critical issues and services for Americans with serious mental illnesses and serious emotional disturbances.