Lawmakers should expand the pool of mental health professionals that can perform competency exams on mentally ill criminal offenders, said South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson.
Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP)
In 2004, Congress authorized the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) through the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA). This $50 million grant program, administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, was created to help states, local government, and tribal organizations improve responses to people with mental disorders who are involved with the criminal justice system. The program facilitates collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and mental health and substance use treatment systems to better serve individuals with mental disorders and to increase public safety.
Since 2006, 349 JMHCP grants have been awarded to agencies and organizations in 49 U.S. states and territories and the District of Columbia. Grants may be used for a broad range of activities, including:
- Specialized law enforcement-based programs and training for law enforcement officials on safely resolving encounters with people experiencing a mental health crisis
- Cross-training for criminal justice, mental health and substance use treatment personnel
- Enhancing access to community-based healthcare services and coverage
- Community supervision and reentry services
- Diversion and alternative sentencing
- Case management and direct services
JMHCP grants are made available in three categories:
- Collaborative County Approaches to Reducing the Prevalence of Individuals with Mental Disorders in Jail: To plan and conduct a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of county criminal justice and behavioral health systems in order to identify strategies to safely reduce the prevalence of individuals with mental disorders in local jails.
- Planning and Implementation: To design and implement targeted interventions to address the needs of individuals with mental disorders in the criminal justice system and improve public safety.
- Expansion: To expand upon or improve well-established collaboration strategies.
Who is eligible to apply for grants? Eligible applicants are limited to states, units of local government, federally recognized Indian tribes, and tribal organizations. Applications must demonstrate that the proposed project will be administered jointly by a criminal or juvenile justice agency and a mental health agency, although only one is responsible for submitting the application.
Additionally, while Category 1 grants are focused on county-based approaches, BJA recognizes that there are 41 U.S. cities that are not within a county system; these cities are also eligible to apply for Category 1 grants.
When can I apply for grants? The solicitation for JMHCP applications is typically released in the first half of each calendar year. Please subscribe to updates from the CSG Justice Center to hear about these solicitations and other funding opportunities.
How can I find JMHCP grantees near me? The National Criminal Justice Initiatives Map has information on where grantees of JMHCP and other federal grant programs are located.
Capacity-Building Projects for the Field
In addition to its grants, JMHCP funds a number of other activities to support collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health, and substance use treatment systems, including:
- Criminal Justice/Mental Health Learning Sites: Six law enforcement agencies and four court-based sites selected by the CSG Justice Center and BJA to share their expertise with other criminal justice and mental health agencies and organizations.
- County Justice and Behavioral Health Improvement Project: A national initiative that uses qualitative and quantitative research to improve outcomes for people with mental illnesses in county criminal justice systems throughout the country.
- JMHCP Conferences: National events to promote peer learning and collaboration among criminal justice and behavioral health practitioners, policymakers, and experts across the country.
“I would like to see the Reuben Engagement Center become the template for criminal justice reform throughout the entire Indianapolis and Marion County community. It’s the kind of services that are going to be offered here that every citizen of this community deserves when they find themselves having been arrested for some kind of behavioral problem, but they suffer from mental health problems, addiction or substance abuse,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett at the opening of the Reuben Engagement Center.
“We’ve got to provide really good treatment in our criminal justice system and simultaneously we’ve got to advocate for people with mental illness and make sure that health care providers are giving the care they should be,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, the incoming board chairwoman.