Task Force and Task Force Member Activities
Task Force Report delivered to CCJ and COSCA This comprehensive report provides details about future Task Force activities, resources that have already been developed and are available for use, and ways in which members of CCJ and COSCA can engage in the work of the Task Force. The Report delivers new interim resources available for courts and communities to use now, including:
- Leading Reform: Competence to Stand Trial Systems, A Resource for State Courts, which includes 10 areas of recommendations to improve competency systems, as well as a brief implementation checklist;
- Exploring Person-Centered Justice for Individuals with Behavioral Health Needs: A New Model for Collaborative Court and Community Caseflow Management, an evidence-based framework for providing coordinated behavioral health services in the context of court cases;
- Collaborative Court and Community Diversion for Individuals with Behavioral Health Needs, a detailed outline of a continuum of diversion opportunities using the Sequential Intercept Model;
- Upstream – Strengthening Children and Families through Prevention and Intervention Strategies: A Court and Community-Based Approach, a conceptual framework for courts and communities to map specific community strengths, resources, and gaps, and to identify points of prevention and intervention within the community, the child welfare system, and the courts; and
- Leading Change Guide for State Court Leaders, an outline and checklist for convening and coordinating system change with other state-level policymakers.
The Report also links to pandemic-specific and other earlier developed resources, all focused on making the work of the Task Force practical and easily useable for state courts as they collaborate with community partners to more effectively respond to people with mental illness who engage with the courts.
Joint Statement of Commitment to Continuing Cooperation Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators, and the National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness released a joint statement of cooperation. In part the statement noted: “Recognizing the critical role state courts play in responding to justice-involved individuals suffering from an SMI or SUD, SAMHSA and the Conferences in conjunction with other state and national leaders are committed to working together in partnership to lead systemic change and promote systemic innovation.”
Will Billions Be Spent on Solutions or Mental Health/Addiction Programs That Continue Failing? Two National Experts Say We’re at Tipping Point Judge Steven Leifman and frequent television commentator, Norman Ornstein, an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, explain today’s problems and solutions in this guest blog. “The good news is we know how to fix it. Even better—by focusing on the interactions between mental illness and substance use, the criminal justice system and policing, we can ameliorate three national crises at once, saving lives and saving money.”
Final Registration Details! Leading Change Workshop - Crisis Response and Diversion in Pima County, Arizona Registration is now open for the October and November site visits to Pima County’s model crisis and diversion programs.
Research and Resources
BJA Funding Opportunity: Collaborative Crisis Response Training Program This initiative seeks to implement transdisciplinary crisis response training to educate and prepare law enforcement and correctional officers so that they are equipped to appropriately interact with people who have behavioral health conditions or disabilities in the course of completing their job responsibilities. This program seeks applications from state, local, and tribal law enforcement and correctional entities for up to $150,000.
Integrating Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Data: Checklist for Building and Maintaining a Data Warehouse Data warehouses, which are central repositories used to house information from multiple sources, can consolidate individual- and system-level data and allow for data tracking to identify relationships and trends. This information can guide decision-making for criminal justice-behavioral health partnerships—built to help minimize justice involvement among people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders—and pinpoint where to target resources and interventions. This checklist is intended to help agencies involved in the criminal justice-behavioral health partnership assess their current information technology infrastructure and guide the development of a cross-system data warehouse.
Transformation Transfer Initiative (TTI) 2021 Resource Guide for Topic B Diversion from Jail This joint SAMHSA/NASMHPD resource is a comprehensive collation of dozens of resources related to diversion best practices.
Vicarious Trauma: A Growing Problem among Legal Professionals That May Become a More Prevalent Cause of Action Cases involving vicarious trauma will only increase in prevalence unless a concerted effort toward awareness of the disorder and training to mitigate its effects within the legal field becomes more commonplace. This Texas Tech Law Review article will explore this phenomena, the brain's physiological response to stress, why attorneys, judges, and their staff are susceptible to vicarious trauma, and the court cases on the topic. (Westlaw link)
Rural Justice Innovation Site Nomination Form The RJC is currently seeking nominations for innovation sites that will host virtual or in-person site visits, answer questions from other rural communities via phone, email, or webinars, and participate in conferences and workshops to share promising rural justice practices. Increasing access to behavioral health treatment is one of the target topics.
“Housing is Health Care:” The Impact of Supportive Housing on the Costs of Chronic Mental Illness This study examines how housing and in-home supports affect public spending on individuals with chronic mental illness in Maricopa County, Arizona. It does so through a comparative analysis of average costs per person per year across three housing settings: permanent supportive housing, housing with unknown in-home support, and chronic homelessness. Finally, the study outlines recommendations from interviews with dozens of experts who work with and care for individuals with CMI in Maricopa County about reducing costs and improving care.
JPLI Newsletter This Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative resource includes resources around competency, new resources on integrating criminal justice data, diversion programs explained, and more.
Financing and Sustaining Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Programs in Jails and Prisons: Lessons from the Field A growing number of jails have successfully implemented and sustained MAT programs by leveraging financial and non-financial resources and strategies. In this webinar, four experts from the field will discuss effective ways to finance and sustain correctional MAT programs.
Societal Costs of Schizophrenia & Related Disorders The Schizophrenia & Psychosis Action Alliance (S&PAA) has released a report identifying the staggering direct and indirect costs of caring for people living with schizophrenia in the US as part of their ongoing Insight Initiative.
Building exits off the highway to mass incarceration: Diversion programs explained We envision the criminal justice system as a highway on which people are heading toward the possibility of incarceration; depending on the state or county, this highway may have exit ramps in the form of diversion programs and alternatives to incarceration. Diversion is a broad term referring to any means of exiting the criminal justice system without a criminal conviction, while an alternative to incarceration can be offered to someone who has been convicted.
Upcoming SAMHSA Webinars SAMHSA's GAINS Center is covering essential topics through its upcoming national webinars.
Navigating Mental Health at Work: A Reading List This Harvard Business Review article lists resources for individuals and managers.
CSG Justice Briefing Exploring alternatives to crisis response; Montana’s racial equity efforts; one California county’s work to reduce the prevalence of mental illness in jail; and upcoming events.
NASMHPD Update Learning opportunities and other resources from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
#CrisisTalk Articles include How a New CMS Model in Maryland Fostered Innovation and $79 Million in Behavioral Health Funding, and How States Can Use One-Year HCBS Funding Bump to Expand Crisis Systems.
The Stepping Up Minute New counties and innovator counties update, surveying participants to strengthen behavioral health-criminal justice programs, and county resources.
In the News
Texas state mental hospitals remain full, hundreds still waiting in jail for beds People charged with a crime and found incompetent to stand trial in Texas are generally required to go to the state hospital to be mentally “restored,” so they can participate in their defense. But with no spare hospital beds, those individuals are forced to wait months, and in many cases more than a year, for a spot. The number of people on the waitlist hit an all-time high of 1,508 last December and has hovered near 1,475 since then, according to newly released HHSC data. The average wait times for both maximum security and non-maximum security hospital beds have remained high. In May, the non-max wait time averaged 153 days, which was down from 204 the month prior. Also in May, the average wait time for a max-security bed skyrocketed to 510 days, up 57% compared to the previous month.
Oregon Lawmakers Pump Money and Oversight into Health Care Oregon’s behavioral health system will get an infusion of $474 million package on multiple fronts. It includes $130 million to boost housing and residential treatment for people with behavioral health needs, $121 million toward certified community behavioral health clinics, $80 million in incentives to increase Oregon’s behavioral health care workforce, and $31 million to open two 24-bed units at Oregon State Hospital’s Junction City campus and hiring 110 staff for the expansion. The move is intended to free up space at the hospital for so-called “aid and assist” cases—patients who need mental health care before they can stand trial in criminal cases and aid in their defense.
Going Beyond Big Cities to Reimagine Prosecution Criminal justice reform discussions have focused mainly on big cities, but incarceration rates are now highest in rural counties, say Utah County Attorney David O. Leavitt and Alissa Marque Heydari, deputy director of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College. They announce the formation of a program with prosecutors from more than a dozen states working to revamp the criminal justice system in smaller communities.
Opinion: Congress must invest in mental health and substance use care infrastructure Now is the time to create something better, an approach that addresses the structural weaknesses in our national mental health and substance use disorder system of care and invests in a long-term strategy of health and wellness. Recommendations include: 1) Strengthen and expand the nation’s mental health/substance use disorder workforce; 2) Invest in the digital mental health/substance use disorder infrastructure; 3) Build capacity to expand access to comprehensive care; and 4) Expand affordable stable housing opportunities.
SAMHSA Awards $250 Million to 100 Community Behavioral Health Centers to Improve Community Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Treatment Services The Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) expansion grant program increases access to and improves the quality of community mental and substance use disorder treatment services. CCBHCs provide person- and family-centered integrated services, including 24/7 crisis intervention services for individuals with serious mental illness or substance use disorders, including opioid use disorders; children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances; and individuals with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.
Safety and Justice Challenge Expands to Add Behavioral Health-Focused Cohort Six communities new to the SJC will join five current sites to maximize learning about how to accelerate behavioral health reform and diversion across the criminal justice system.
States lagging on 988 crisis line one year out from Congressional deadline A new analysis by The Kennedy Forum shows only three states have passed adequate legislation to facilitate 988, the nation’s first three-digit number for people experiencing a mental health crisis. Last year, Congress unanimously passed the bipartisan National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, which created 988 as the universal number for the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline System, as an alternative to 911. However, most states are behind in advancing critical legislation to fund their local 988 infrastructure.
OCR to present “Mediation and Mental Health: Promoting the Well-Being of Disputants” webinars The ODR is preparing to air a series of three national webinars entitled “Mediation and Mental Health: Promoting the Well-Being of Disputants.” The series is being funded by the State Justice Institute with collaboration and assistance from the National Center for State Courts.
More Opioid Treatment Programs Needed to Help People Recover from Addiction This PEW report recommends that federal and state policymakers: Establish more opioid treatment programs; facilitate access to methadone; and expand Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and increase the number of participating OTPs.
Minneapolis will add a mental health response to 911 calls “If someone is behaving as though they’re confused or they’re yelling or they’re being disruptive in a way that isn’t violent but it’s disruptive and disconcerting … [911 is] going to be routing mental health calls or behavioral health calls to this mobile behavioral team,” Fletcher said. Police will still be sent out if someone appears to be a threat to themselves or others. If police or other first responders get to the scene and decide they are not equipped to respond to a mental health crisis, they can call for a mobile behavioral team to take over.
New Plan Sets Out Idaho Steps to Improve Behavioral Health Care The Idaho Behavioral Health Council is a joint effort of Idaho’s Executive Branch, Legislature, and Judicial Branch and includes members from each. It is chaired by Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen and Administrative Director of Courts Sara Omundson. The council worked with local governments, providers, community partners and consumers of behavioral health services and their families to create the new plan—a set of 34 recommendations to improve access to care, with nine identified as key priorities for the next three years.
State of Justice This CSG Justice Center newsletter includes news about a New Jersey shooting that raises questions about police response to mentally ill, non-police responses to mental health crises in Maine and Minnesota, and an opinion piece about crisis response alternatives in the Baltimore Sun.
State of Justice This CSG Justice Center newsletter includes news about crisis response innovations in Seattle and Virginia and a juvenile diversion program in Florida.
American Medical Association Calls for Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Prisons, Jails Specifically, the policy expands and updates the AMA’s longstanding recommendations to require medication treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) as the standard of care for patients in jail and prison settings, including patients who are pregnant, postpartum, or parenting. The updated policy also reiterates the need for screening upon entry and post-incarceration treatment for mental health and substance use disorders.
NC Court of Appeals issues controversial rulings on involuntary commitment process State courts have traditionally held that involuntary commitment hearings are not “adversarial,” meaning there are technically no opposing parties with differing interests. And unlike criminal cases and civil disputes, there are no prosecutors or plaintiffs, only petitioners. Petitioners can be any concerned individual, but in these cases, they are usually physicians or psychiatrists, and there is no requirement that they have counsel, so often they attempt to navigate the court hearings on their own. The North Carolina Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision, upheld the lawfulness of this practice in two rulings Tuesday. According to the rulings, the burden remains on privately-owned hospitals, such as Duke University Medical Center, not the state, to retain attorneys or to have doctors petition a court.
Judge: Courts can’t set jail medication policy A judge denied a defendant’s emergency petition, and for the second time in a week said the court cannot compel medical staff at Grand Traverse County’s jail to distribute specific prescribed medications to people incarcerated there. The controversy is centered around the practice of the contracted jail medical provider to unilaterally substitute its preferred medications for those currently prescribed and taken by defendants. One of the examples involved the substitution of Vivitrol for suboxone.
California Wants to Expand Access to Mental Health Care for Children Under the portion of the plan that alters behavioral health care, many more children and adults will be able to access treatment without a diagnosis. That change is expected to enable California to better live up to a federal mandate that guarantees medically necessary care for all pediatric Medi-Cal recipients.
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