Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses at the Pretrial Stage: Essential Elements

The period between a person's arrest and his or her case being adjudicated presents a significant opportunity to safely minimize future criminal justice involvement and make needed connections to behavioral health care. Nationally, about 17 percent of people entering jails pretrial meet criteria for a serious mental illness. In addition, about three-quarters of people with serious mental illnesses in jails have a co-occurring substance use disorder. These are individuals who, by and large, are eligible to receive publicly funded health care. Many communities have found ways to make effective connections to treatment for some individuals as part of pretrial release or diversion programs, but policymakers and practitioners continue to struggle to identify and implement research-based policies and practices at this stage of the criminal justice system.

September 2015 | The Council of State Governments Justice Center

This report introduces essential elements for responding to people with mental illnesses at the pretrial stage, including decisions about pretrial release and diversion. These elements encourage data collection not only to help individual communities, but also for future researchers who are dedicated to these important questions. Read the executive summary

You might also be interested in

In Recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

As Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month comes to a close, The Council of State Governments Justice Center…

Read More

Hamilton County Launches Effort to Improve Juvenile Justice System

Hamilton County, Ohio launches a comprehensive, data-driven review of its juvenile justice system to identify strategies to improve…

Read More

Pennsylvania State Leaders “Step Up” to Take on Locally Driven Policymaking

Many community members are seeking to stop the cycle of arrest and incarceration for people with behavioral health…

Read More