FAQ

The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) 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.
When does the grant term begin? Does it begin when we receive notification, when we begin to draw down funds, or when the revised budget is approved?

The start date of the grant is indicated by the date included in the award notification document, where it can be found in box number 6.

However, some award letters include a special condition prohibiting you from spending any money pending an approval of your budget. You will then receive notification from BJA indicating that your budget has been approved.

Do we have to file for an extension if our progress was delayed due to the necessity of submitting a budget revision? How do we file for an extension?

If you will not be able to complete the work described in your application within the time period provided, you should request a no cost extension. Project period extension requests are made by submitting a grant adjustment notice in the JustGrants Grant and Payment Management System. You can access information on submitting grant adjustment notices through the OJP Financial Guide. Questions about JustGrants can be answered by visiting https://justicegrants.usdoj.gov/.

It is not unusual for grantees to request an extension but, before beginning this process, you should first contact your grant manager to explain the need for an extension. Your grant manager can also address any questions you have about the process.

What are the reporting requirements under the grant?

Information on budget reporting requirements can be found on OJP’s Funding Resource Center. This website provides a detailed explanation of reporting requirements under the links to the “Financial Guide” and “Post Award Instructions.” As a JMHCP grantee, you will be required to submit performance measure data on a quarterly basis to the BJA Performance Measurement Tool (PMT). Before the first reporting deadline, we will conduct trainings to walk you through the PMT. In addition, you must also file progress reports to BJA twice a year through the JustGrants Grant and Payment Management System. You should describe the level of success you have had around these objectives and your activities to date. The Post Award Instructions document also contains a list of frequently asked questions about these reporting requirements that may be helpful to you.

If you are a planning and implementation grantee, you will also be required to submit a copy of a completed planning and implementation guide, which we will tell you about in your grantee orientation webinar.

Who can we call with questions or requests for assistance regarding the work of our grant?

The CSG Justice Center can support your grant activities with information, resource materials, and answers to your questions during the term of your grant. The CSG Justice Center has great expertise on staff, has authored numerous publications, and is well positioned to connect you with other sources of information and assistance. The staff can also help connect you with colleagues so that you can benefit from their experiences. If you have any questions, contact the CSG Justice Center staff person assigned to your project.

Will representatives of the CSG Justice Center visit our site?

Travel restriction are currently in effect for most CSG Justice Center staff. However, the staff member assigned to your project may be able to provide virtual “on-site” technical assistance to grantees. You can discuss this with that staff member as you develop a technical assistance plan.

How can we learn more about different strategies for improving outcomes when people with mental illnesses come in contact with the criminal justice system?

At each juncture of the criminal justice process—from before arrest to after release from a correctional facility—there are steps that you can take to improve the response to people with mental illnesses in your community. The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project Report (Consensus Project Report) provides more than 100 recommendations, endorsed by law enforcement, judges, advocates, consumers, and corrections officials, for addressing the problem at different stages of the criminal justice process. The many different points of intervention you can consider are presented on the flowchart of events along the criminal justice continuum on page 24 of the Consensus Project Report.

How can we engage additional partners in our planning effort?

One common denominator among all strategies that provide a response to this problem is a commitment to collaboration between at least one criminal justice and one mental health agency. Chapter Five of The Consensus Project Report provides recommendations for improving collaboration. The CSG Justice Center’s Advocacy Handbook provides useful strategies for reaching out to different stakeholder agencies and groups.

How can we learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions, especially other communities whose demographics (e.g., large urban area or rural jurisdiction) are similar to ours?

Communities working to improve outcomes for people with mental illnesses in contact with the criminal justice system can benefit greatly from a better understanding of the experiences of colleagues from across the country. The CSG Justice Center regularly features profiles and news articles about JMHCP grantees and other criminal justice and behavioral health programs—you may subscribe to receive updates. Your CSG Justice Center contact may also be able to connect you with colleagues to learn more about what they are doing.

How can we ensure that the program we develop is sustainable over time?

It is important to collect outcome data and educate your community about the availability of services for people with mental illness coming into contact with the criminal justice system in order to plan successfully for future sustainability. Chapter Eight of The Consensus Project Report provides recommendations for disseminating findings and publicizing the successes of a program.

Mental Health Court programs will find A Guide to Collecting Mental Health Court Outcome Data a helpful resource for planning their data collection.

How do we familiarize people who work in the criminal justice system with what it means to have a mental illness, how it is treated, and how the mental health system works?

The CSG Justice Center and BJA publication Navigating the Mental Health Maze provides a useful synopsis of mental illnesses and the mental health system for criminal justice professionals.

Are there any other specialized training resources available for our community?

Chapter Six of The Consensus Project Report provides recommendations on training for law enforcement, courts, corrections, and mental health professionals as well as strategies for identifying and evaluating trainers and educating the community.

For grantees focusing on law enforcement and mental health collaborations, the CSG Justice Center, in partnership with the Police Executive Research Forum and with support from BJA, released Improving the Response to People with Mental Illnesses: Strategies for Effective Law Enforcement Training. This report outlines strategies for specialized law enforcement training.

How do we determine whether the mental health services provided in our community are effective for people we are targeting through our initiative?

Programs designed to improve outcomes for people with mental illnesses in contact with the criminal justice system require effective community mental health treatments and supports. Recent research has identified mental health services that have demonstrated positive outcomes for individuals with mental illness. The GAINS Center has developed fact sheets and detailed discussion papers on evidence-based practices and how they can be applied in criminal justice settings.

What is the most effective way to treat people with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders?

Co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health illnesses are common among people in criminal justice-mental health programs. The CSG Justice Center report, Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision: A Shared Framework for Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery introduces a framework that can be used at the corrections and behavioral health systems level to prioritize scarce resources. This framework is based on objective assessments of individuals’ risk of committing a future crime and their mental health and substance use treatment and support needs.

How can we learn more about the challenges unique to serving youth with mental illnesses?

Communities that focus their efforts on the juvenile population will encounter challenges unique to this age group. The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ) offers a number of resources, including training resources and guides for screening and assessing youth admitted to a detention facility with mental illnesses.

What issues are unique to a mental health court for youth?

Juvenile and adult mental health courts share some common features, but differ in several important ways, including the types of screening instruments and treatments used, approaches taken to issues of confidentiality, and the added component of family involvement in the criminal justice process. The NCMHJJ has developed a series of resources on juvenile mental health courts.

How can we learn more about what we need to do to effectively plan and implement a police-mental health collaboration?

The CSG Justice Center released Police-Mental Health Collaborations: A Framework for Implementing Effective Law Enforcement Responses for People Who Have Mental Health Needs in 2019. The framework is broken down into 6 overarching questions that law enforcement leaders can ask themselves as they are developing or seeking to sustain a police-mental health collaboration. It is intended to help law enforcement agencies across the country better respond to the growing number of calls for service they receive involving this population.

What types of strategies have communities implemented to improve outcomes of police responses to people with mental illnesses?

Various models of police responses to people with mental illnesses are emerging in communities across the country. Some police departments intensively train a cadre of officers who provide a first response to all calls in which mental illness is believed to be a factor and improve safety by using crisis de-escalation skills. Others pair law enforcement and mental health professionals to provide a second response and connect these individuals with community-based mental health services more effectively.

Grantees can visit the CSG Justice Center’s Law Enforcement topic page to view resources that have been developed to explain efforts across the country. The Law Enforcement-Mental Health Collaboration Support Center also offers free training, resources, and support to communities wanting to improve their law enforcement and community responses to people with behavioral health conditions or intellectual and developmental disabilities.

What resources are available to help our community plan a mental health court or improve/expand upon an existing mental health court?

Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum is a free online multimedia curriculum for individuals and teams seeking to start, maintain, or just learn about mental health courts. Developed by the CSG Justice Center with the support of BJA, it provides people with information to translate research on mental health courts into program design and operation.

The Guide to Mental Health Court Design and Implementation describes different steps planners will encounter when launching a mental health court and addresses issues such as determining whether a mental health court is the most appropriate court-based program for a jurisdiction, selecting a screening mechanism for potential court participants, and sustaining a court’s operation.

The Essential Elements of a Mental Health Court builds upon the Guide by describing 10 features—identified by leading experts and informed by hundreds of practitioners—as critical to establishing and sustaining a mental health court.

How should we go about collecting data to determine how our mental health court is functioning?

Outcome data can be of enormous value to mental health courts in their efforts to demonstrate the initial promise of their approach and garner long-term support, as well as make data-driven program modifications. A Guide to Collecting Mental Health Court Outcome Data provides practical strategies for obtaining and analyzing data. It also identifies challenges that mental health courts often face during the data collection process and ways in which to overcome them.

How do we determine whether the services we offer people with mental illnesses reentering the community are effective?

The GAINS Center has developed fact sheets and detailed discussion papers on six evidence-based practices and how they can be applied in criminal justice settings. Three of the evidence-based practices are particularly relevant for people transitioning from jail or prison into the community: Assertive Community Treatment, evidence-based housing programs, and supported employment.

Are any resources available that recognize the challenges associated with transition planning for someone with a mental illness who is booked into jail and released back into the community just a few short days later?

The CSJ Justice Center and GAINS Center’s Guidelines for the Successful Transition of People with Behavioral Health Disorders from Jail and Prison promotes the criminal justice partnerships that are necessary to develop successful approaches for identifying people in need of services, determining what services are most appropriate, and addressing these needs during transition from incarceration to community-based treatment and supervision. The guidelines incorporate the principles outlined in Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision: A Shared Framework for Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery. 

In addition, the CSG Justice Center, National Association of Counties, and the American Psychiatric Foundation lead the Stepping Up Initiative, a national effort to help advance counties’ efforts to reduce the number of adults with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders in jails. By signing up for the initiative, you can receive notification about learning opportunities, peer-to-peer exchanges, expert guidance, a toolkit of resources, and other assistance to facilitate planning and implementation. To learn more, visit the Stepping Up website.