Task Force Activities
State by state, community by community, we hope that in some small measure these twice monthly Behavioral Health Alerts inform judges, court professionals and others and help you examine and improve court and community responses to those with serious mental illness. Please share these Alerts with colleagues and encourage them to sign up or better yet send us your distribution list and we will upload those emails for you. We also want to acknowledge Rick Schwermer, NCSC Consultant, who makes sure these Alerts include Task Force activities, curated resources and reports, educational opportunities and relevant news from the states. While there is a wealth of data, research, and other resources related to the intersection of behavioral health and the courts, nowhere are those resources curated in one place on an ongoing basis.
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Research and Resources
New Criminal Justice Community of Practice Opportunity: Building a Competent Crisis Care System at Intercepts 0-1 This SAMHSA GAINS Center Community of Practice (CoP) will explore policies and practices to build and enhance a competent crisis care system. Through participation in this CoP, selected sites will work to improve strategies related to components of a crisis care system, including 911 and crisis line integration, mobile crisis response, community alternatives to emergency department and inpatient dispositions, and partnerships with law enforcement.
Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative Newsletter Improving the availability and utility of criminal justice data; a look at whether courts are designed to handle mental health issues; and assessing pretrial policies and practices.
Conversations with the Field 12/2- Connecting People in Communities of Color in the Best Possible Way This PTACC “Conversation with the Field” session provides an opportunity for practitioners working in the field of deflection to discuss challenges deflection programs are facing in the current divisive climate, as well as possible solutions to specifically address diversity, equity, and racial disparities.
Bias: Using Brain Science to Understand, Recognize and Counter It Many communities are seeking to understand how stigma and discrimination influences our personal behaviors and distort individual and public health outcomes across mental health and addiction recovery settings. This National Council for Behavioral Health webinar explores the neuroscience behind the issues.
A New, Five-part Webinar Series for Judges - Opioid Use Disorder and the Courts: Protecting Children & Supporting Families The five webinars in this National Judicial College series are: Substance Use Disorder in the Courtroom; Trauma and Its Connection with Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders; Medication Treatment & the Importance of Individualized Case Plans; Panel Discussion: Parties Formerly Involved in the Justice System Because of Substance Use Disorder; Ethics of Bias and Self-Care: Combating Secondary Trauma.
Building State Capacity to Address Behavioral Health Needs Through Crisis Services and Early Intervention This model assembles a network of services comprising three components: a 24-hour regional or statewide crisis call center hub; community-based mobile crisis teams that evaluate and stabilize the individual; and facilities designed to stabilize patients for eventual recovery. Mental health crisis programs have shown good results both clinically and fiscally.
Innovative Solutions to Address the Mental Health Crisis: Shifting Away from Police as First Responders Fortunately, there are now a growing number of jurisdictions that have adopted a team approach to these incidents, in which mental health professionals can de-escalate the situation, with trained police protection in support. These promising programs need to be studied for their effectiveness and design; they suggest that the role of the police needs to be modified significantly when mental illness may be involved in an emergency call.
New Mexico Sentencing Commission Competency Assessment This NMSC research project evaluated over 1,500 competency related events in an attempt to assess the impact of a recent rule change regarding timelines for competency processes. The evaluation provides an excellent template for measuring timeliness and effectiveness of changes to competency processes.
Curated Library about Opioid Use For Decision-makers (CLOUD) This collection features resources that can be adapted for local settings; specific guidance on offering harm reduction, recovery housing, and culturally appropriate mental health and peer support services during the pandemic; and links to websites that provide high-quality information, data, and/or examples for policymakers and community leaders to adopt.
Upcoming National Council for Behavioral Health Webinars Includes sessions on trauma, motivational interviewing, and the impact of the pandemic on behavioral health.
Now Available - NIC's Becoming Trauma Informed: An Essential Element for Justice Settings Webinar Series Recordings With increased awareness of the effects of stress, adversity, and trauma on people’s lives, criminal justice professionals are considering what this means in their correctional settings. There is growing evidence of the effects of child neglect and abuse (as well as other forms of traumatic stress) on the health, mental health, and behavior of men and women residing in jails and prisons.
TAC Research Weekly November Research Roundup Telehealth is an acceptable and even preferred way to receive services for some people with serious mental illness, according to research published online earlier this month in Psychiatric Services. Individuals receiving mental health services at a New York City community behavioral health program were invited to participate in a survey regarding telehealth services. Of the 1,482 respondents with severe mental illness, more than 80% reported that their feeling of being connected to the community program staff and the support provided them was at least as great as before the pandemic.
Partner Webinar: Eviction Prevention and Housing Retention During and After COVID-19 The COVID-19 pandemic has led to economic hardship and housing instability for millions of Americans. With eviction moratoria expected to expire at the end of 2020, individuals and families are at risk of losing their housing. Join SAMHSA’s new Homeless and Housing Resource Center to explore strategies for eviction prevention and housing retention.
6th National Telehealth Summit Includes the following sessions: Updates in Telehealth Policy, Regulations and Reimbursement; Telehealth and The Lessons Learned from Viral Pandemics; Leveraging Telehealth to Address the Opioid and Substance Abuse Crisis; and Using Telehealth to Integrate Behavioral Health and Primary Care in Community-Base Settings.
In the News
Announcing Justice Counts, a new national criminal justice data effort Last week the CSG Justice Center convened the inaugural national steering committee meeting for Justice Counts, a first-of-its-kind coalition of 21 leading criminal justice organizations. Justice Counts is the largest, most comprehensive consensus-building initiative designed to help policymakers make better decisions with criminal justice data that’s more timely, less disjointed, and as useful as possible.
PRA November eNews The Manfred S. Guttmacher Award was established in 1975. It recognizes an outstanding contribution to the literature of forensic psychiatry in the form of a book, monograph, paper, or other work, and this year the award is shared between Dr. Lisa Callahan and Dr. Debra Pinals for two recently published articles addressing competence to stand trial.
CSG Justice Briefing A look into who is left behind when jail populations drop; your thoughts on barriers to work after conviction; and how pretrial release doesn’t harm public safety.
State of Justice This CSG Justice Center newsletter includes: Chicago, Illinois considers changes to emergency mental-health response; North Carolina sheriffs recommend criminal justice reforms; and an examination of victim restitution in Nevada.
We must decriminalize mental illness to save lives As a consequence of decades of discrimination, underfunding and marginalization of those with mental health and substance use disorders, our nation has largely ceded its responsibility for caring for the most seriously ill to the criminal justice system. By any measurable metric, this is a failed policy.
Could California’s psych hospitals be ordered to admit inmates with COVID? Many patients are too sick to maintain proper hygiene or wear masks. Underlying medical conditions like obesity and diabetes are common, as are Hepatitis C and HIV. In California, about a fourth of patients are over 60, records show. And hospitals can’t “ask or tell patients to stay in their room or stay anywhere on the unit for that matter,” Warburton, the hospital system’s medical director, testified in the hearing last month. “That’s considered seclusion and can only be used when there’s an imminent risk or a threat.”
School of Law Professor leads third symposium addressing mental illness and the law "The main focus of the symposia has been to provide education for attorneys, law enforcement and the judiciary regarding this challenging and complicated area of the law," Shannon said. "It is our hope that the policy discussions might also influence, or at least inform, those who work at the legislative level and as part of the judicial process."
Mental health treatment a crucial component of criminal justice reform This year has been filled with protests in response to issues of use of force, trust and accountability in policing. These conversations about race and policing are incredibly important and long overdue. But in order to truly move our entire justice system forward, we must also acknowledge the intersection between our criminal justice system and the deficit of mental and behavioral health services in our communities.
Flagstaff mental health specialists partner to respond to crisis 911 calls Local law enforcement agencies are now relying on mental health professionals to manage mental health calls as opposed to officers. As of this month, people calling 911 with a mental health crisis in Flagstaff and Coconino County will be forwarded to the Crisis Response Network. Crisis Response Network is a non-profit that employs trained mental health specialists who can get people to the services they need, all over the phone. If the caller needs in-person care, the Crisis Response Network will dispatch non-profit Terros Health, a mobile team of mental health professionals.
N.H. Child Advocate: 'Historic' number of children awaiting psychiatric care A record number of children in New Hampshire are on wait lists for acute psychiatric services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Court with no courtroom to address mental health and substance abuse for veterans The intervention program will be essentially a treatment court without the courtroom. Under the program, when a participant fails to follow the rules, the district attorney’s office will decide whether to kick the person out. In a typical veterans court, that call is made by the judge.
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Have comments or feedback about Behavioral Health Alerts? Contact Rick Schwermer at email@example.com