The majority of people in prison and jail have a substance use disorder. Despite the promise demonstrated by some treatment programs for people who are incarcerated, just a fraction of the people who need services for substance abuse receive it. Connecting people incarcerated to treatment programs proven to be effective, prioritizing resources for those nearing release, and encouraging community-based aftercare will ensure better outcomes for people released from prisons and jails, and the communities to which they return.

Substance Abuse FAQs

Providing answers on relevant topics concerning Mental Health, Health and Substance Abuse topics.

Recent Posts

Massachusetts Set to Launch Behavioral Health Pilot to Reduce Risk of Recidivism

Massachusetts Set to Launch Behavioral Health Pilot to Reduce Risk of Recidivism

This pilot program stems from policy recommendations made during the state’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative in 2015. As a result of this initiative, Massachusetts invested more than $1 million in providing specialized treatment services to people who have substance addictions, mental illnesses, or co-occurring disorders and are at a high risk of reoffending.

A Message from the Director: Highlights from 2018

A Message from the Director: Highlights from 2018

I arrived at the CSG Justice Center aware that the field of criminal justice has changed dramatically since our inception in 2007, presenting our organization and others with new challenges and exciting opportunities. As we entered our second decade, I felt that we first needed to be sure we understand who we are, what we stand for, and how we fit into this growing field.

Reentry Essentials: Prioritizing Treatment for Substance Addictions

Reentry Essentials: Prioritizing Treatment for Substance Addictions

A large proportion of people in the criminal justice system have substance addictions. While there is an overwhelming need to provide effective treatment, challenges exist in quantifying the extent of that need, providing appropriate treatment programming, and taking a strategic approach across systems.

Announcements

[Apply Now] Prison Research and Innovation Network

[Apply Now] Prison Research and Innovation Network

The Prison Research and Innovation Network will be a community of practice for state departments of corrections interested in leveraging research, data, and evidence to inspire improvements in prison environments.

Webinars

Innovative Programming for Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

Innovative Programming for Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

This webinar focusses on the programming developed specifically for veterans in two jurisdictions—the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office in Massachusetts and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department in California—and explains how these jurisdictions developed partnerships with their Veterans Affairs resources and other entities in their criminal justice systems.

2018 Second Chance Act Orientation for Reentry for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Grant Program

2018 Second Chance Act Orientation for Reentry for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Grant Program

In this webinar, representatives from the NRRC, along with staff from BJA, provide an overview of the Second Chance Act’s Reentry for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Illness (CSAMI) grant program and explain the training and technical assistance opportunities that are available to grantees, including the Planning & Implementation Guide, and other resources available to grantees.

Addressing the Needs of Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

Addressing the Needs of Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

This webinar provides an overview of national estimates of incarcerated veterans; explains components of the Veterans Health Administration’s veterans justice programs; expands awareness of the needs of veterans in the justice system; and discusses new developments in the Veterans Administration and community interventions to provide services to veterans in the justice system.

Best Practices in Screening and Assessment for People with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System

Best Practices in Screening and Assessment for People with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System

This webinar features Roger Peters, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida. The webinar discusses the prevalence of co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders among people involved in the criminal justice system, as well as effective screening and assessment instruments to use with this population.

Publications

In Focus: Conducting a Comprehensive Process Analysis

In Focus: Conducting a Comprehensive Process Analysis

This brief from the Stepping Up partners presents counties with steps for examining how people who have serious mental illnesses move through a county’s criminal justice and behavioral health systems, it is one of a series of companion products designed to provide counties with further guidance on how to apply the Stepping Up framework “Reducing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jail: Six Questions County Leaders Need to Ask.”

Recent headlines

Program Helps Prisoners Re-Enter Communities

A collaborative effort of Beaver County United and Deliverance Temple Ministries ROOTS Inc., both based in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, reintegrates former prisoners into society by providing help with housing, jobs, and drug and alcohol recovery, along with a duffel bag full of personal care items and informational resources.

Pitt County Jail Aims to Reduce Recidivism and Substance Use Relapse

The Pitt County department has a jail “navigator” who helps place people into safe housing and reconnect them to benefits upon their release. The sheriff’s office is also preparing to launch a new treatment program for drug users housed in the jail.

Q&A: A Look at the Issue of Mentally Ill Inmates in Jails

About 4 to 5% of Americans are seriously mentally ill, compared with as many as 18% of those in jails, according to Risë Haneberg, who leads the Stepping Up initiative on behalf of The Council of State Governments Justice Center.

Study: Link between Treatment Programs and Reduced Jail, Recidivism

A five-year study by the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University’s School of Social Work found that diverting individuals with mental health disorders into treatment programs rather than simply jailing them significantly reduces the jail population and reduces the chances of recidivism.

Mental Health in the Justice System

A large number of people in the jail system struggle with mental health, Potter County commissioner Paul Heimel said. Some addicts or those with mental illnesses have received help, but once they become confined they don’t continue to get the help they need.

How States Address Opioid Use Disorder in Prisons

At a Council of State Governments national conference The Pew Charitable Trusts hosted a session that brought together policymakers from across the country to share approaches for addressing the treatment needs of the criminal justice population and increasing their access to MAT.