988: A Shared Opportunity

for Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Partners

988: A Shared Opportunity

On July 16, 2022, the U.S. transitioned to 988—a 3-digit code for people to reach the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, creating a unique opportunity to rethink how people are connected to compassionate, accessible care. Communities around the country are now determining how this new, national dialing code works alongside existing law enforcement and crisis responses.  

For criminal justice stakeholders, the transition to 988 is an important opportunity to shift people in crisis toward appropriate care, and help redesign crisis responses that, when implemented effectively, minimize contact with law enforcement and the justice system.  

This project seeks to equip criminal justice leaders with information that supports their efforts to: 

  • Raise awareness of the services 988 provides; 
  • Build a shared vision of the opportunity 988 presents; and  
  • Coordinate with their 988 partners and other behavioral health crisis providers to appropriately direct people to 988 from first contact with law enforcement through reentry.  

Videos

The Council of State Governments Justice Center invited law enforcement and behavioral health partners from across the country to share their perspectives on law enforcement’s role in supporting 988 implementation in their communities. This video series aims to shine light on the various ways communities are incorporating 988 into existing approaches to crisis response.

Key Staff


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Director, Behavioral Health
Dr. Ayesha Delany-Brumsey oversees the Behavioral Health Division and its various portfolios, which focus on how parts of the criminal justice system intersect with the mental health, substance addiction, and homelessness systems, among others. Before joining the organization, Ayesha was
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most recently the director of Behavioral Health Research and Programming at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York City. Prior to that, she was the director of the Substance Use and Mental Health program at the Vera Institute. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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  • Ernest-Stevens
    Deputy Division Director, Behavioral Health
    Ernest Stevens oversees the portfolio of work focused on improving outcomes for people experiencing behavioral health conditions and homelessness who encounter law enforcement. Ernest supports communities in adopting, implementing, and evaluating new practices. Previously, Ernest spent over 28 years in
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    law enforcement helping develop new programs and policies for the San Antonio Police Department. He also worked as a program manager for the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council that oversees emergency operations for 22 counties in Texas. Ernest was featured in the Emmy Award-winning documentary Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops. Ernest also wrote Mental Health and De-Escalation: A Guide for Law Enforcement Professionals. He earned his BS in criminal justice from Wayland Baptist University. 
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    Deputy Division Director, Behavioral Health
    Hallie Fader-Towe works with local and state policymakers to craft policies, processes, and programs that will work best for their jurisdictions. In her positions with the CSG Justice Center, she has worked with jurisdictions around the country on collaborative, data-driven
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    planning and implementation efforts to address criminal justice functions from initial detention through reentry, including a focus on people with mental illnesses. She has also managed the development of training materials on mental health courts and on judicial responses to the prevalence of individuals with mental illnesses involved with the criminal justice system. She has written on dispute systems design for state trial courts, pretrial responses to people with mental illnesses, information sharing between criminal justice and mental health systems, and mental health court design and implementation. Before joining the CSG Justice Center, she was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in New York. Hallie received a BA from Brown University and a JD from Harvard Law School.
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  • Katie Holihen 2022
    Senior Policy Analyst, Behavioral Health
    Katie Holihen works to advance locally driven state policymaking at the intersection of criminal justice, behavioral health, and housing. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, Katie was a grant analyst at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office in Chicago,
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    where she worked with cross-sector partners to launch holistic defense and data analytics programs. She also led curriculum development for national law enforcement training initiatives in procedural justice and cultural humility at the Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Katie has a BA in history and political science from Marquette University and an MSW from Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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  • BJA logo

    This project is supported by Grant No. 2019-MO-BX-K002 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). BJA is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. This work is also conducted in partnership with The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, SAMHSA, or the Council of State Governments.