Strategy 2: Improve responses to people who have behavioral health needs in local criminal justice systems.
Improve the identification of people who have behavioral health needs in the criminal justice system.
- Establish standardized definitions of serious mental illnesses and substance addictions for people in the criminal justice system to improve consistency and collaboration between criminal justice and behavioral health agencies.
- Provide funding and establish standards for training for law enforcement officers to identify people who may have behavioral health needs and respond appropriately.
- Require universal screening using a validated tool when people are booked into jail or prison or placed on supervision, and follow up with a comprehensive clinical assessment for those who screen positive for a behavioral health need.
- Provide guidance and statutory clarification to encourage and facilitate information sharing within and across criminal justice and behavioral health agencies.
Ensure that a range of behavioral health treatment and service options are available within jails and prisons and in the community for people in the criminal justice system.
- Determine the number of people who have behavioral health needs and the specific nature of those needs.
- Help counties map existing opportunities for diversion and the availability of treatment and behavioral health services across the criminal justice system.
- Prioritize existing resources across the criminal justice and health care systems for people who are at a high risk of reoffending and have serious behavioral health needs.
- Support diverting people from jail to alternatives to incarceration and treatment, when appropriate, by statutorily defining categories permitting or excluding people from diversion.
- Fund local diversion programs and approaches that demonstrate alignment with locally identified needs, gaps, and circumstances.
- Provide funding and financial incentives to increase the availability of treatment and related services.
- Develop a comprehensive approach to reduce drug overdoses through prevention, crisis response, treatment, and recovery support.
- Support efforts to redesign health care systems to expand capacity of community-based services that are responsive to the needs of people in the criminal justice system.
Increase the effectiveness of treatment and support services to improve public safety and health outcomes.
- Provide funding and establish standards for quality training for law enforcement staff, court officials, jail, prison, and supervision staff to apply the research on “what works” to appropriately and effectively respond to people who have behavioral health needs.
- Provide funding and establish behavioral health care standards for people diverted from jail to alternatives to incarceration, people on supervision, and people in prison and jail.
- Require behavioral health treatment providers to apply evidence-based practices to reduce recidivism and improve recovery.
- Develop payment strategies that incentivize treatment providers to deliver specialized services for the criminal justice population.
- Ensure the availability and improve the quality of treatment when issuing grants or contracting for services by including provisions to:
- Prioritize intensive services for people who have the highest risk of reoffending and greatest behavioral health needs.
- Ensure that services are designed to reduce recidivism, improve health outcomes, and advance recovery.
- Hold treatment providers and criminal justice agencies accountable for meeting criminal justice and behavioral health outcome measures.
- Provide financial incentives to treatment providers that exceed standard outcome measures.
- Require quality assurance processes and include observations of program delivery as part of regular evaluations of treatment and services.
Strengthen collaboration between behavioral health and criminal justice agencies at the state and local level.
- Model collaboration at the state level by establishing a committee consisting of representatives from state and local criminal justice and behavioral health agencies to remove barriers and improve collaboration and information sharing.
- Encourage interagency collaboration across local criminal justice and behavioral health agencies.
- Require appropriate information sharing across agencies to reduce gaps and redundancies.
- Encourage collaborative case planning between supervision agencies and behavioral health providers.