Improving the Justice System Response to Mental Illness

A State Justice Institute National Initiative

Trailer: The mental health jail diversion project in Miami is the subject
of a new documentary, a project of the Matthew H. Ornstein Memorial Foundation.



The Sequential Intercept Model is an important tool for improving the court and community response to mental illness and substance use disorders.

Yolanda Lewis, NACM conference 2019
Former Fulton County, Ga., Court Administrator Yolanda Lewis describes how the community used the model and key principles to lead change in Atlanta. (55 min.)

Image of Travis Parker at NACM conference
Travis Parker of Policy Research Associates, Inc.,
shows how to use the tool to identify gaps and opportunities in your community. 


National Judicial Opioid Task Force Resource Center for Courts

Icon for Guide report

This guide for judges and court leaders is intended for court leaders who want to create change in how mental health needs are addressed in their community but aren’t sure how to get started. It lays out the steps for beginning the movement toward change in the court and community’s response to mental health and co-occurring disorders—from inviting stakeholders to the first meeting to sustaining the initial momentum for long-term progress.
Includes: list of potential stakeholder, checklists of action steps, sample meeting agendas, assessment questions

Icon linking to Best Practices

This page highlights the practices that create a strong foundation for an effective response to mental health needs in the community. No matter what stage a community is at in its responses, this tool can be used to gain information about recommended practices that create a stronger structure of support for individuals with mental health and co-occurring needs.
Includes: links to resources, practice descriptions

Mental Health 'Facts in Brief' resources are now available

In support of the National Initiative to Improve the Court and Community Response to Mental Illness, NCSC is proud to make available a series of "Mental Health Facts in Brief" court information resources for 2020.  The first four offerings are: