CCJ/COSCA Southern Region and New Mexico Summits are postponed due to COVID- 19


National Initiative Updates

CCJ/COSCA Southern Region and New Mexico Summits are postponed due to COVID- 19; Pima County Workshop will also be rescheduledAs State Courts respond to the Coronavirus, CDC Guidelines, and travel restrictions, Summits and Workshops to Improve the Justice System Response to Mental Illness and Co-Occurring Disorders planned for April and May are postponed. Stay tuned for new dates and additional developments.

Attention, Treatment Courts: Register TodayRegister for the NCSC Free Webinar this Thursday March 26th “Treatment Courts and COVID-19”. This Webinar is conducted with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). The Webinar will provide guidance on:

  1. Federal, state, and local mandates and guidelines impacting treatment courts;
  2. NCSC Preparing for a Pandemic: An Emergency Response Benchbook and Operational Guidebook for State Court Judges and Administrators; and
  3. Adapting treatment court operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Mental Health Facts in Brief – Two Additional Fact Sheets AvailableAs part of an Educational Series, two additional Facts in Brief are now available! Click on the links below.

Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders (CODs) reviews the history and issues presented by co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders and the strategies courts can use to address them.

Trauma and Its Implication for Justice Systems provides an overview of how a trauma history may relate to individual justice involvement and implications of trauma awareness for the justice system.

Although these Mental Health Facts in Brief were developed and approved before COVID- 19, they are relevant during these uncertain times.

The Definition of Insanity “The Miami-Dade Criminal Mental Health Project (CMHP) comes to life in this documentary, following a team of dedicated public servants working through the courts to steer people with mental illness — as their court cases hang in the balance — on a path from incarceration to recovery.” Judge Steve Leifman, a lynchpin in the National Initiative’s efforts, is at the center of what has come to be called the Miami Model, and of this documentary that explores how it works. Premieres April 14 10/9c on PBS stations nationwide.

Research and Resources

EFFECTIVE COURT RESPONSES TO PERSONS WITH MENTAL DISORDERS This brief is part of a broader Evidence Based Judicial Decision-Making Toolkit. The National Center for State Courts reviewed the literature and interviewed researchers and practitioners regarding effective court responses to address persons with MD at three of SAMHSA’s five key potential intercept points: pretrial, sentencing, and probation supervision. This brief summarizes nine key conclusions that emerged from the review.

EFFECTIVE COURT RESPONSES TO PERSONS WITH SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER This brief is also part of the EBJDM Toolkit. The National Center for State Courts reviewed the literature and interviewed researchers and practitioners regarding effective court responses to address persons with substance use disorder, including opioid use disorder, at three decision points: pretrial, sentencing, and probation supervision. This brief summarizes seven key conclusions that emerged from the review.

MEDICARE TELEMEDICINE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FACT SHEET: Medicare coverage and payment of virtual services COVID-19 related - Important new reimbursement criteria for telehealth services The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has broadened access to Medicare telehealth services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. These policy changes build on the regulatory flexibilities granted under the President’s emergency declaration.

COVID-19 Resources for Treatment Courts NADCP encourages all practitioners to consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, relevant local, state, and federal authorities, and all professional organizations with which you are affiliated. To assist, we offer the following links will regularly update this page with new resources as they become available.

Responding to Individuals in Behavioral Health Crisis via Co-Responder Models: The Roles of Cities, Counties, Law Enforcement, and Providers This brief is the first joint product in a series from Policy Research, Inc. (PRI) and the National League of Cities (NLC), and details the various co-responder models available to city and county leaders. It reflects the growing interest in and experimentation with co-response among jurisdictions across the country.

New Webinar: Fostering Partnerships and Collaborations across the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) Partnerships and collaboration are considered essential ingredients in establishing an effective continuum of services across the Sequential Intercept Model. SAMHSA’s GAINS Center presents a virtual roundtable discussion with practitioners who have established effective partnerships and collaboration across the intercepts to increase services for justice-involved individuals with mental and substance use disorders. Presenters will share the perspectives and strategies that have been critical to their success.

Latest PRA e-Newsletter This edition has several relevant resources, including a podcast on mentally healthy workplaces, a new NCYOJ Brief: Caring for Youth with Behavioral Health Needs in the Juvenile Justice System, and several competence to stand trial video resources from the recent Trueblood diversion services summit in Washington.

Arizona Adverse Childhood Experiences Consortium Online Learning Modules This suite of online courses includes Childhood Trauma and ACEs, and ACES, Trauma, and Substance Use Disorder. Though targeted to Arizona audiences, most of the material has national applicability. The courses are also available in Spanish.

A Jail-Based Competency Restoration Unit as a Component of a Continuum of Restoration Services This study reports on restoration outcomes of a sample of pretrial defendants who were found incompetent to stand trial and underwent restoration services in a large urban county. Each male defendant was initially assigned to restoration in one of four settings on a continuum of services of varying intensity (i.e., outpatient, jail general population, dedicated jail-based restoration unit, or forensic hospital inpatient unit) based on the defendant's assessed clinical need.

AN OVERVIEW OF INVOLUNTARY MENTAL HEALTH HOLDS IN IDAHO (Westlaw link) This law review article serves as a primer of sorts on Idaho’s tiered civil hold process, exploring first the basics of Idaho's statutory scheme, including the different types of mental health holds, the substantive threshold that needs to be met for an involuntary mental health hold to be placed, and the types of individuals capable of placing a patient on an involuntary hold. Next, this article takes a look at the key definitions in the mental health hold statute and a key omission from those definitions. Lastly, this article explores a few difficult scenarios that providers may need to address in the mental health hold context--a context where the decision of whether or not to place an involuntary mental health hold can have significant consequences for both patient and provider alike.

NOT GUILTY, YET CONTINUOUSLY CONFINED: REFORMING THE INSANITY DEFENSE (Westlaw link) This Note argues that when an NGRI individual reaches the maximum penal sentence, the standards governing their release should be substantially similar to involuntary commitment laws for civil mental health commitments. A strong body of Supreme Court equal protection jurisprudence supports this notion.

FY 2020 Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program (COSSAP) Grant Announcement The Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) was developed as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) legislation. COSSAP’s purpose is to provide financial and technical assistance to states, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop, implement, or expand comprehensive efforts to identify, respond to, treat, and support those impacted by illicit opioids, stimulants, and other drugs of abuse.

Partner Webinar: SOAR and Criminal Justice System Implementation In this webinar, presenters will share information on the connection between serious mental illness, homelessness, and incarceration. You will learn what happens to SSI/SSDI benefits when a recipient becomes incarcerated and hear about best practices for increasing access to SSI/SSDI benefits for people with serious mental illness who are reentering communities from jails and prisons. Guest speakers will provide both the management and caseworker perspective on successful SOAR implementation.

Can Courts Lead in Solving the Opioid Crisis? In this podcast Judge O. Duane Slone with the Circuit Court in the Fourth Judicial District of Tennessee and Director Deborah Taylor Tate, head of the Administrative Office of the Courts for the Supreme Court of Tennessee and Co-Chair of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force, will discuss the recent Task Force Report and the efforts by the Nation’s Courts to take the lead in solving this countrywide crisis.

Mentally Ill and Incarcerated A News Beat podcast from Apple Podcasts. “If we were to ask you to name the largest mental health facilities in the country, what would you say? We'll save you the trouble. The answer: jails. America's failure to effectively treat the mentally ill amid a mass incarceration crisis has only exacerbated the struggles for thousands of people.”

Behavioral Health Townhall Series The National Council for Behavioral Health is spearheading several important initiatives over the next few months and Chuck Ingoglia, National Council’s president and CEO, wants to make sure that members’ voices are heard. A series of monthly Tele-town Hall meetings are scheduled.

IMPLEMENTING ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TREATMENT: ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS, BUILDING BLOCKS AND TIPS FOR MAXIMIZING RESULTS This paper offers guidance in the establishment and operation of formal AOT programs on the local level and outlines nine essential elements of a successful program.

In the News

Failure to address coronavirus mental health issues will prolong impact This op-ed and the related resource links from the Kennedy Forum speak to the specific mental health-related issues implicated by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus is a 'personal nightmare' for people with OCD and anxiety disorders For people with mental health conditions, COVID-19 is both their worst nightmare and sudden validation of their habits.

Relaxing Of HIPAA Laws During COVID-19 Pandemic In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the need for an informed and coordinated public health response, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar has declared a limited waiver of certain provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

TAC Newsletter Special COVID-19 edition Discusses special issues involved with those with SMI and the impact of the pandemic.

California plans to use private hotels, motels to shelter homeless people as coronavirus spreads California state government is procuring hotels and motels to shelter the homeless as part of the state’s effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Sunday. In addition, the state is sending 450 travel trailers to locations around the state to help shelter many of the 108,000 unsheltered homeless people living in California.

State poised for ‘monumental’ shift in the handling of mentally ill, lawmakers say Lawmakers and mental health advocates say Utah’s mental health system will be transformed in a “monumental” and “historic” way thanks to more than $23 million in funding approved by the Legislature. The money could not only give better treatment options for people with mental illness, but also help alleviate burdens on emergency rooms, courtrooms, 911 dispatchers, jails and prisons, and perhaps even Utah’s homeless system.

Study finds high rates of trauma exposure, PTSD symptoms among defendants in drug court Nearly 94% of defendants in Cuyahoga County drug court have been exposed to trauma and many suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new Case Western Reserve University study. "These findings tell us that we need to not only treat the disease of addiction, but also the underlying mental-health issues that so often coincide with them," said Margaret Baughman, co-author of the study.

Massachusetts Attorney General Announces Agreements To Expand Access To Behavioral Health Services Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced an agreement between five health insurance companies and two companies that manage behavioral health coverage for insurers that will provide improved access to behavioral health services for more than one million residents in the state and modify how reimbursement rates are determined.

ThriveNYC hasn’t been fixed, will still fail to focus on those who need help Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife and mental-wellness czar, Chirlane McCray, recently announced a new goal for ThriveNYC, their $850 million mental-health plan: “reach people with the highest needs.”

Our view: Close gap on mental health care Pennsylvania takes great care to protect the civil liberties of those with serious mental illness. Under current practice, treatment can only be forced upon people when they pose a danger to themselves or others. But too often, that means individuals don’t get needed help because they don’t meet the involuntary commitment threshold, or they are committed and stabilized, only to be released and relapse because their illness prevents them from comprehending their need for treatment.

Clinician helping South County police deal with mental health cases The Westerly (RI) Police Department and three other law enforcement agencies in South County recently began working directly with a clinician to help them deal with emergency responses and other cases involving mental health. The "community diversion clinician" is working with the police in partnership with the Providence Center, which offers mental health and substance treatment services.

New Santa Fe specialty court shuns punishment A new program in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court is taking a novel approach to addressing crime — helping people instead of punishing them. The goal of Wellness Court — a collaboration between the court, Santa Fe County, prosecutors and defense attorneys — is to use care and compassion, not incarceration, to help people who have become ensnared in the criminal justice system because of substance abuse or mental health issues.

You learn something new every day, even as a judge “I’ve learned a lot in the past 11 months. A lot about what it takes to be a good judge, obviously. But also, a lot about the programs and services we have at the Second Judicial District Court that help people get through what can be the toughest time in their lives. I didn’t know about these innovative programs before I became a judge – and I had practiced law in Albuquerque for over a decade. I figured that if I didn’t know about the creativity happening in our courthouse, most non-lawyers wouldn’t know about them either.”

Assisted Outpatient Treatment: Where Do We Stand? This is an interview about AOT with Lynn Nanos, a Massachusetts social worker specialized in evaluating serious mental illness. Lynn has worked in emergency mental health care for over ten years, and recently she wrote Breakdown: A Clinician’s Experience in a Broken System of Emergency Psychiatry.

New legislation would create temporary position to evaluate mental health services As a federal court implements mandated changes to the state’s mental health system, the Mississippi Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that creates a temporary position in state government to evaluate the effectiveness of community mental health centers.