The Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved the fiscal year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, which provides $30.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Justice and includes $2.87 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.
Mental Health Posts
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee recently approved the fiscal year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill on a vote of 32-19. The bill provides $30.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Justice and includes $2.9 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.
“Part of the success of this has been an openness to identifying how we can do things differently in our community when it comes to mental health care and the criminal justice system,” said Paula Verrett, a NAMI recovery specialist who has worked directly with the OCMHC since its inception.
A disproportionate number of people in the nation’s criminal justice system face mental health issues: a Bureau of Justice Statistics report found, for example, that people in U.S. prisons and jails are three to five times more likely to experience serious psychological distress than the general adult population. While there is an overwhelming need to provide effective treatment, challenges exist in quantifying the extent of that need and taking a strategic approach across systems—from law enforcement to community-based reentry services.
The Stepping Up initiative recently launched a national effort to help counties collect accurate, accessible data on the number of people entering their jails who have mental illnesses. As part of the effort, seven rural and urban “Innovator Counties” have been selected as models for their expertise in accurately identifying these individuals and consistently collecting data on them.
The Baltimore County, Maryland, county executive recently released a report that provides recommendations for the county to better position its police-mental health collaboration (PMHC), the Baltimore County Crisis Response System, to provide an effective and comprehensive response that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and maximizes both public safety and health outcomes.
The Dauphin County Board of Commissioners recently endorsed a comprehensive plan that provides concrete steps for the county to take to help reduce the number of people who have serious mental illnesses (SMI) in the local criminal justice system while making more efficient use of resources and increasing public safety.
“When we looked at the types of calls that were coming into the police department . . . they were very similar to the calls that we would receive on the crisis line at the Harris Center,” said Harris Center program director Jennifer Battle. “So one day, we said, ‘well, you know, it seems like an unfortunate utilization of resources to have officers go out to these calls that the crisis line is [fielding] all day long, every day, using mental health and counseling skills as opposed to law enforcement.’”
Recently, the U.S. Congress approved the $1.3 trillion Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill that would set government funding through Sep. 30, 2018. The bill provides $30.3 billion for the Department of Justice and includes $2.9 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.
Arkansas’s first crisis stabilization unit (CSU) opened in Sebastian County on March 1 with high praise from Governor Asa Hutchinson. This center, which will provide services to people experiencing mental health crises, is the first of four such centers planned across the state. Officials are hopeful that it will serve as a model that other states can follow.
While many approaches were touted, governors urged the use of research-based strategies proven to be effective, including technical skill and workforce development programs as well as addiction and mental health treatment provided during incarceration.
The Council of State Governments (CSG) recently announced that Megan Quattlebaum, research scholar in law at Yale University Law School and lecturer in law at Columbia University Law School, will be the next director of The CSG Justice Center.
This guide from the CSG Justice Center is intended to support recipients of Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grants administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
This guide is tailored to Category 3 Law Enforcement grantees that are primarily focused on implementing specialized police responses or police-mental health collaboration programs, including (but not limited to) crisis intervention teams and co-responder models.
This guide from The Council of State Governments Justice Center is intended to support recipients of Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grants administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. It is not intended to serve as a step-by-step blueprint, but […]
This guide from The CSG Justice Center is intended to support recipients of Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grants administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
In a little more than two years, more than 400 counties—representing 43 states and 40 percent of the U.S. population—have joined Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails.
The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced $36 million in FY2017 Second Chance Act grants that were awarded to 68 jurisdictions across the country.
Since Stepping Up’s launch, more than 365 counties—representing 36 percent of the U.S. population—have passed resolutions to join the initiative and work to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in their jails
Kicking off #MentalHealthMonth on May 1, judges and psychiatrists from across the country gathered with people with mental illnesses and their family members to discuss the place where their lives often intersect—the criminal justice system.
May marks #MentalHealthMonth, a nationwide effort to raise awareness about mental illnesses and their impact. With an estimated 2 million people with mental illnesses being admitted to jails each year according to research, communities are discussing ways to tackle this issue at the local level.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed legislation on April 21 that enables the state to appropriate $7 million from the general fund to increase the quality of community-based behavioral health treatment for people in the criminal justice system and an additional half a million dollars to increase the number of treatment providers to serve this population, which can significantly reduce recidivism and improve public health outcomes.
“I’ve been in and out of jail for the last 20 years, and this [group] taught me it was time to grow up and stop doing the things I was doing,” Rich said. “Having people who care about how you’re doing and who can lift your spirits is important.”
“Every single meeting that I have with law enforcement, the number one issue that comes up is about people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system,” said John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and chair of the CSG Justice Center board. “That’s why I’m excited about the Stepping Up Initiative, which takes a data-driven approach to solving this problem and addressing the needs of the individual at the local level.”
“The idea that recovery is possible needs to be disseminated as widely as possible,” said Erika Miranda, a peer navigator for Encompass Community Services in Santa Cruz County. “To have every system encourage recovery means that people with mental illnesses can be integrated into their communities, can stop recidivating, and really change their lives.”
New Beginnings, a 2011 and 2014 Second Chance Act-funded program of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, received the 2017 Innovation in Corrections Award at the American Correctional Association Conference in San Antonio, Texas last month.
Stepping Up: The California Summit hosted teams representing 52 of the state’s 58 counties to discuss the crisis of mental illness in jails, which plagues communities across the nation.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act (SCA) Reentry Program for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders grants funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Before the confetti is swept up in celebration of the President’s signing of the 21st Century Cures Act, let’s make sure an important takeaway isn’t lost in the fanfare: this bipartisan bill also illustrates the type of improvements to the criminal justice system everyone can get behind.
Leaders in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, recently launched a data-driven project as part of the national Stepping Up initiative, seeking to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders in the county prison.
Within the wide range of initiatives the omnibus bill supports are several significant criminal justice reform measures related to the issue of mental health, including the enactment of the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act and the reauthorization of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act.
The conference, which was hosted by United States attorneys of the six New England Districts—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine—uplifted the region’s approach to reentry efforts. Rather than focusing on individual locales, service providers, policymakers, and correctional agencies throughout New England collaborate to ensure a unified approach.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes criminal justice measures to address the prevalence of people with mental illnesses in U.S. jails and prisons. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week.
Judge Steven Leifman of Miami-Dade County, Florida was recently named “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine for his commitment to addressing the high prevalence of mental illness among people in the criminal justice system.
“[These] actions represent further steps to expand access to treatment, prevent overdose deaths, and increase community prevention strategies,” said the Obama Administration in an announcement in March. “These actions build on the president’s proposal for $1.1 billion in new funding to help every American with an opioid use disorder who wants treatment get the help they need.
Individual panelists offered differing perspectives on what work needs to be done to reduce recidivism, but the group agreed that there are a number of straightforward, nonpartisan measures that state and local governments can adopt in order to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.
Highlighting the role of police departments in advancing these approaches, BJA announced the Police-Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC) Toolkit at the 2016 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in San Diego, California. The PMHC Toolkit was developed in partnership with The Council of State Governments Justice Center and gathers best practices and resources to help law enforcement agencies partner with mental health providers to respond appropriately and safely to people with mental illnesses.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center talked to Richard Schwermer, Utah’s assistant state courts administrator, about mental health courts in his state and his use of Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum, the CSG Justice Center’s free online multimedia curriculum for people and teams seeking to start, maintain, or learn about mental health courts.
For many jurisdictions, sustaining a mental health court program can prove challenging both monetarily and in terms of staff capacity. Grant funding often provides the seed money to plan or launch a mental health court. But obtaining additional funds to keep the program running once grants run out requires leveraging other funding streams and maintaining strong partnerships with stakeholders.
You’ve undoubtedly heard about the recent report issued by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice condemning various police practices in Baltimore. What has gone largely unmentioned, however, is the report’s detailed review of how encounters between police and people with mental illnesses result in “unnecessarily violent confrontations.”
“We really became committed to reentry,” said Rockdale County Lieutenant Dennis Pass. “So going to command staff and getting buy-in for using this tool wasn’t difficult. They knew finding a tool that doesn’t take a clinician to use is tough, so this was a perfect fit.”
Since the mental health court was implemented, everyone who is booked into the Joplin City Jail is given a brief mental health screen, a process that Jail Administrator Shane Dotson said was unprecedented in Joplin prior to the establishment of the mental health court program.
Following in the footsteps of two Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grantees—Olathe and Overland Park, Kansas—11 other cities in Johnson County, Kansas, will partner with the Johnson County Mental Health Center to implement a mental health co-responder program this year.
In an effort to reduce recidivism and the public cost of emergency room visits by uninsured patients, two California counties—San Diego and Imperial—are using enrollment programs to increase access to Medicaid-covered physical and behavioral health services for people involved with their criminal justice systems.
The tragedies of the past week weigh heavily on us. As public safety officials in our respective states, we were outraged to see the very people working to protect the public murdered because of the uniform they wear. We also feel deeply for residents of communities who, because of the color of their skin, fear the people who have sworn an oath to protect them.
As states across the country adopt changes in their Medicaid programs, people who were previously ineligible for coverage have become eligible, including a significant number of people involved with the criminal justice system.
“We are proud to be a leader in a national effort,” said retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, who will serve as project director of the initiative. “Our work will improve public safety, break the cycle of jail for persons with mental illness, and increase their access to treatment.”
“It’s about showing up and having people’s back … and I believe the only way we make real change in terms of the discrimination related to mental health is when we normalize it,” said Jennifer Mehnert, executive director of Maine chapter of NAMI.
Two counties—one in Ohio, the other in Utah—are backing their words with action following separate reports from The Council of State Governments Justice Center that highlighted major disparities in the length of time people with serious mental illnesses stay in each county’s local jail and the rate at which they’re rearrested following their release compared to people with out these illnesses.
Teams of behavioral health and criminal justice professionals gathered in Washington, DC, this week to address the “human consequences of an inhumane system” in which 2 million adults with serious mental illnesses are admitted to county jails every year.
With more people with mental illnesses in jails than ever before—the majority of whom are not a public safety risk—county leaders across the country have united around a central realization: Jails can no longer be used as de facto psychiatric facilities.
Megan Younger, a social worker with 16 years of experience in emergency mental health services, has been the designated co-responder embedded in the Overland Park Police Department since May 2014, a position made possible by a Bureau of Justice Assistance Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grant awarded to the City of Overland Park in 2013.
County leaders and local policymakers representing 50 jurisdictions in 37 states are set to converge on Washington, DC, April 17-19 to address the overrepresentation of people with mental illnesses in jails across the country.
From watching his son struggle with bi-polar disorder, to witnessing the treatment of the 1,200 individuals with mental disorders in a Miami-Dade County jail, journalist and author Pete Earley’s experiences have coalesced into a common theme concerning mental health and the criminal justice system.
RESET, which is funded by a 2014 Second Chance Act grant, is a six-month program designed specifically for women and implemented through a partnership between a residential reentry center and a nonprofit behavioral health agency. A typical participant in RESET has a co-occurring substance use and mental disorder and a moderate- to high-risk of committing another crime.
The Family Division of the Berrien County Trial Court in Michigan decided in 2001 that its juvenile justice practices simply weren’t working. That meant restructuring the county’s juvenile justice procedures around evidence-based practices, starting by using risk assessments to determine which youth were more likely to commit another offense and thus required more intensive interventions and supervision.
Through pre- and post-incarceration services, Just In Reach creates a stable environment in which goals such as employment and family reunification can be built.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Sheriff Jim Winder and District Attorney Sim Gill recently endorsed the recommendations of a just-completed, independent study about the county’s ongoing efforts to reduce recidivism and appropriately divert those with mental illnesses and substance use disorders away from the county jail and into treatment.
At Detroit Central City Community Mental Health in Wayne County, Michigan, clients used to arrive to see their clinicians or a doctor. Now, more frequently, they come to see their mentor.
The Texas Indigent Defense Commission—chaired by Sharon Keller, presiding judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals—unanimously approved a $600,000 grant to be dispersed over four years for the Bexar County (San Antonio) Public Defender’s Office to provide attorneys at the initial court hearings of people who are indigent and have mental illnesses.
31 Days, 31 Stories, a series released during National Mental Health Awareness Month, highlighted champions who are dedicated in their everyday work to reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system.
Federal legislators, mental health advocates, and public safety officials helped launch Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails, and communities across the country have already signed on to take action.
On the heels of the launch of a national initiative to address the mental health crisis in U.S. jails, leaders in Franklin County are planning an overhaul of the way the county responds to people with mental illnesses in contact with the justice system.
“Think of this training as another set of skills to add to your toolkit,” Webb told the class. “These techniques truly are applicable to a variety of groups and situations, and when you encounter a situation, then you have options—you can decide which tool to use.”
As the nation’s first multijurisdictional community court, the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn has served as a neighborhood hub for clinical services, community service, youth programs, and other social supports since its founding in 2000.
Having an urgent care clinic located only feet away from courtrooms allows judges and court staff to guarantee that people have access to services. For many defendants, this may be the first contact they’ve had with a mental health professional. Moreover, for some, this treatment may well reduce the likelihood that they will be arrested in the future.
In December, the National Reentry Resource Center and Dr. R. Karl Hanson and Dr. Guy Bourgon of Public Safety Canada hosted a second convening in a series of meetings focused on instituting a common language for improved risk communication.
The NRRC, a project of the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, will provide intensive technical assistance to support the design and implementation of strategies that unite corrections and workforce development partners in Philadelphia and Milwaukee counties.
Programs that can help reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails, ranging from police training to certified peer support, are the basis for a new wave of national efforts highlighted Tuesday as Congressional leaders joined the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and the National Association of Counties (NACo) to discuss potential federal reforms and a new national initiative driven by the two organizations.
Since 2010, the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MN DOC) has partnered with NAMI to implement a CIT program in the state’s prison system to help prison staff respond effectively to people with mental illnesses.
Among the new awards are five $3 million Statewide Recidivism Reduction (SRR) implementation grants, awarded to Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Vermont.
The bill would provide incentives and resources to state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations for substance use treatment, prevention, and recovery efforts.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and MacArthur Foundation Announce $2 Million in Funding for Juvenile Justice Programs
When it comes to information sharing between community health care providers and criminal justice health systems, according to Ben Butler of Community Oriented Correctional Health Services, today’s “connectivity” landscape is reminiscent of the early days of cellphones.
Congress took a significant first step toward continuing the work of the Second Chance Act today as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to reauthorize the bipartisan bill.
The Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) today announced plans for a comprehensive analysis of Salt Lake County’s jail population in an effort to identify ways to reduce reoffense rates among people released from jail and design strategies to improve outcomes for the large portion of the jail population struggling with mental and/or substance use disorders.
David D’Amora from the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG) and Dr. Eric B. Elbogen from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine co-presented in the session, Addressing the Role of Factors that May Contribute to Violence: Mental Illness and Substance Abuse.
The CSG Justice Center delivered trainings at two conferences in the behavioral health field—the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Annual Meeting in New York City, and the National Council for Behavioral Health’s (NCBH) Annual Conference in National Harbor, MD.
Evidence-based approaches and strategies for the successful reentry of individuals returning home from incarceration who also have mental and/or co-occurring substance use disorders was the subject of a recent training session led by the CSG Justice Center.
To help federal grant recipients learn how to develop successful criminal justice and mental health collaborations, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, with support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, hosted its fifth annual training and orientation conference, “Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery” on May 13–14 in National Harbor, Maryland.
In state-of-the-state addresses across the country this year, governors noted significant improvements to their states’ criminal justice systems. No longer solely focused on imposing tougher penalties for all crimes, states are increasingly making efforts to strengthen community supervision and use […]
As part of implementing the state’s justice reinvestment legislation, which Governor Sam Brownback signed into law in May 2013, Kansas has allocated this upfront “reinvestment” to hire 40 experienced service providers in community corrections departments and community-based organizations throughout Kansas to increase access to behavioral health treatment for people on probation.
The University of South Florida recently hosted the 27th Annual Children’s Mental Health Research and Policy Conference in March 2014. At the event, over 550 researchers, evaluators, policymakers, parents, and advocates discussed new research on improving service systems for children and youth with mental health challenges and their families.
More than 500 researchers, evaluators, administrators, parents, and advocates came together at the 27th Annual Children’s Mental Health Research & Policy Conference, held in Tampa, Florida, on March 2–5 to discuss issues related to health, education, welfare, and juvenile justice.
On February 4, 2014, national leaders in the criminal justice and behavioral health fields gathered in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Access to Treatment: Bringing NIATx to Corrections Project, a partnership between the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) and NIATx.
On February 12, 2014, Council of State Governments Justice Center staff led two training sessions on the Mental Health Court Curriculum at the Alabama Association of Drug Court Professionals Annual Training event in Montgomery.
This new online resource center from the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research Inc. offers a collection of resources that focus on the following topics: mental health screening, diversion models, mental health training for juvenile justice staff and police, evidence-based practices, family involvement, and juvenile competency.
In October 2013, 104 government agencies and nonprofit organizations across the country were awarded grants through the Second Chance Act to help improve the outcomes for and reduce recidivism among individuals leaving prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities.
On January 16, 2014 Congress passed the $1 trillion omnibus federal spending package, which includes a $51.6 billion Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill. Under this bill, the Second Chance Act would receive $67.7 million in funding, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) would receive $8.2 million, and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative would receive $27.5 million, which includes $1 million for the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections.
Health care spending in the United States has been increasing steadily over the past decade, and state corrections departments have seen a particularly sharp rise in health care-related costs.
On October 22, 2013, about 200 Oregon judges took part in the training module Judicial Work at the Interface of Mental Health & Criminal Justice in Gleneden Beach, Oregon.
Charged with supporting and providing technical assistance to problem-solving courts in their states, a group of state-level trainers came together last month for a train-the-trainer event on how to use Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum—a free, online curriculum that offers research and best practices on designing and implementing mental health courts.
We have learned a tremendous amount in the last decade about how to best serve youth in the juvenile justice system.
As one of six Law Enforcement–Mental Health learning sites selected by the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Madison (WI) Police Department’s Mental Health Liaison Program is an example of how community partners can collaborate to provide police services to people with mental illnesses.
The Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS), in partnership with the Commonwealth Corporation and the Collaborative for Educational Services, hosted the first Annual DYS Youth Art Showcase at the Massachusetts State House on June 11, 2013.
Youth reentering the community after contact with the criminal justice system often have significant mental health and substance abuse needs.
Earlier this year, Bexar County (City of San Antonio), Texas was selected to serve as a County Justice and Behavioral Health Systems Demonstration Site.
The growing number of law enforcement incidents that involve people with mental illnesses has intensified the need for specialized police responses in these situations. Developing such responses is becoming an increasing priority for all of those in public safety and […]
By Jacqueline Cheney, Policy Analyst How do practitioners bridge the gap between policy and practice? In June 2013, the CSG Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Foundation convened a group of experts in New York City to discuss judicial applications […]