Substance Use

A disproportionate number of people in the criminal justice system struggle with substance use disorders, many of whom also have co-occurring mental illnesses. Despite the success of some treatment programs for people in the criminal justice system, just a fraction of the people who need these services receive them. Our team works with communities across the U.S. to promote and bring models of success to scale.

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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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    Deputy Division Director, Behavioral Health
    Sarah Wurzburg oversees technical assistance focused on behavioral health, diversion, and reentry and serves as the lead for projects related to substance use, mental illnesses, and housing. She leads the work on the development of community responder programs, including a
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    toolkit that supports sites in development of non-police responses to people in crisis. Previously, Sarah was a research analyst at the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc., where she was the team lead for Youth and Women’s Services and was the primary author of research reports on youth substance use disorder treatment, driving under the influence, and Medicaid. Sarah has also worked as a juvenile court advocate and in community substance use disorder prevention. She received her BA from DePauw University in English (writing) and her MA in social services administration with a focus on policy analysis from the University of Chicago.
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