Dauphin County, Pennsylvania: A County Justice and Mental Health Systems Improvement Project

The CSG Justice Center conducted an in-depth, cross-systems data analysis of the flow of people who have serious mental illnesses (SMI) through the Dauphin County criminal justice system. This report includes the key findings and policy recommendations.

July 2019 | The Council of State Governments Justice Center

In June 2016, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania’s county commissioners passed a Stepping Up resolution to reduce the number of people in their local prison who have mental illnesses. Then, in December 2016, Dauphin County’s elected officials and criminal justice and behavioral health leaders—represented by the county’s Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB)—asked the CSG Justice Center to conduct an in-depth, cross-systems data analysis of the flow of people who have serious mental illnesses (SMI) through the Dauphin County criminal justice system. County commissioners and the CJAB asked the CSG Justice Center to identify ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of policies, programs, and practices to achieve better public health and safety outcomes.

Based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis, and with the guidance of members of CJAB 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, from the CSG Justice Center, includes the key findings and policy recommendations.

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