Task Force and Task Force Member Activities
Resolution 1: In Support of the Recommendations of the National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness The Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators each unanimously passed this important resolution at the annual CCJ-COSCA meeting in July. The Findings and Recommendations referred to are below. The resolution specifies issues about which courts should lead, examine, educate, and advocate.
Findings and Recommendations of the National Task Force to Examine State Courts' Response to Mental Illness This resource is a companion piece with the Resolution adopted by CCJ and COSCA in July, and contains the findings and recommendations adopted by the Task Force.
New Study Examines the Nation's Courts and Mental Illness Miami-Dade County Associate Administrative Judge Steve Leifman plans soon to brief Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz on a new study that calls for major changes to the way the nation’s courts treat people with mental illness and substance use disorders. Leifman served on the “Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness” that the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Courts Administrators formed three years ago.
Task Force Publications and Resources As the national judicial task force nears its end, this one-stop summary of Task Force resources serves as a near-final summary of the tangible work of the Task Force. Almost 100 new behavioral health/court resources are linked here.
Research and Resources
Engaging Parents and Youth with Lived Experience: Strengthening Collaborative Policy and Practice Initiatives for Families with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders This resource provides key considerations for recruiting and engaging those with lived experience who were involved with child welfare associated with a substance use disorder or other mental health challenge. It also highlights considerations for engaging youth who have spent time in the foster care system.
Mental Health in the Criminal Justice System: A Guide for Clinicians This SMI Adviser resource for mental health clinicians helps you better understand the criminal justice system process as it relates to individuals who have SMI. Learn what happens after an individual in your care is arrested or incarcerated. Gather insight on how you can best support and advocate for them.
2022 Annie E. Casey Kids Count Data Book The 33rd edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT® Data Book describes how children in America are in the midst of a mental health crisis, struggling with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels. This year’s publication continues to present national and state data across four domains — economic well-being, education, health and family and community — and ranks states in overall child well-being. The report includes pre-pandemic figures as well as more recent statistics and shares the latest information of its kind available.
Urban Institute Research Report: New Programs for and Approaches to Justice System Challenges Case Studies of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oregon, and Pennsylvania Includes results of evaluations of Improving Responses to Behavioral Health Needs: Crisis Stabilization Units and Crisis Intervention Training in Arkansas and Addressing the Needs of Justice-Involved People with Behavioral Health Disorders: IMPACTS in Oregon.
Valuing the Vulnerable: A Proposed Approach to Cyclical Competency Cycles of compensation and decompensation may require a defendant to go through the competency evaluation system multiple times before they are ever brought to trial. This Note examines the Sell requirements for involuntary medication and proposes a different standard for some competency to stand trial scenarios.
How Far We Have Not Come: An Empirical Comparison of Federal and State Mental Health Legislation This Note provides an overview of significant changes in mental health law from the nineteenth century onward and analyzes whether federal or state legal interventions create any discernible change in subjective mental health using difference-in- differences analysis. Further, this Note examines trends in the use of community- based mental health services. A quasi-experimental comparison of self-reported mental health before and after passage of the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act and the settlement of the Arnold v. Sarn lawsuit in Arizona shows that while state law had a marginally larger effect than federal law, neither system is particularly effective in creating change for individuals with mental illness.
Probation Supervision Doesn't Cut Recidivism, Must Be Improved Despite the guidance, support, and oversight that community supervision aims to provide, these populations are struggling, according to a new series of papers on research, public safety and justice reform published by Arnold Ventures. Existing evidence suggests that increasing the intensity of community supervision does not reduce recidivism, and many targeted supervision requirements do not appear beneficial either. Are there aspects of other successful community programs that could be integrated into community supervision, to reduce recidivism and improve public safety? A more promising avenue is increasing access to mental health care and therapy-focused programs.
TAC Research Weekly: Changes in Stigma Toward Serious Mental Illness Over the Past 20 Years According to the study, overall public stigma toward major depression significantly decreased in the 22 years of the study, whereas public stigma for schizophrenia or alcohol dependence remained unchanged. The percentage of participants who expressed concerns about the dangerousness to others posed by individuals with schizophrenia increased 13 percentage points from a little more than half in 1996 to almost 70% in 2018. Yet the study results indicate a substantial increase in the public acceptance of the biomedical causes of mental illness. The results indicate that participants were more likely to consider mental illness as a chemical imbalance or genetic problem in the most recent interviews, rather than a result of bad character or the way an individual was raised.
Guidelines for Developing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Criminal Justice Coordinating Councils (CJCCs) are how elected and appointed executive-level policymakers in local jurisdictions, and sometimes states, meet collaboratively to address issues facing the justice system and its constituent agencies. The content on this NIC site describes CJCCs, provides specific guidance for their development and operation, and offers tips on how to sustain them.
CSG Justice Center Justice Briefing This edition has links to a celebration of seven years of Stepping Up, and to Making the Case for Housing, a webinar focusing on resources that can be used to better support people who frequently cycle through jails, emergency rooms, shelters, and other services.
Critical Connections: Strategies for Fostering Engagement and Retention among People Reentering the Community from Prison or Jail The weeks following release from jail or prison can be among the most deadly for people with mental and substance use disorders. Establishing a meaningful connection with these individuals is critical to their survival, continuity of treatment and care, long-term success in their recovery, and the prevention of further justice involvement. This webinar presents three programs with demonstrated success in engagement and retention of clients in treatment and services through the transition from incarceration to the community.
Webinar: Serious Mental Illness and Homelessness This SAMHSA webinar will feature three panelists in a roundtable discussion about serving individuals with serious mental illness who are experiencing homelessness. Panelists will help dispel myths about homelessness and mental illness, share innovative and culturally responsive models of care, and provide actionable takeaways that participants can use in their work.
Thinking Outside the Box Housing Webinar Series: Cross-Sector Strategies to Create Housing Opportunities for People with Behavioral Health Needs Leaving the Justice System In this webinar, participants will gain an understanding of the evidence of the role of housing in preventing and reducing involvement with the justice system, as well as other important outcomes. Attendees will be introduced to a framework that can guide communities in increasing housing options for people within the justice system who have behavioral health needs. Finally, participants will hear from one state that has successfully implemented a cross-system approach to increase housing for people with justice involvement.
Reaching Rural: Advancing Collaborative Solutions The Reaching Rural initiative is a one-year initiative. Over the course of the year, the selected individuals and teams will receive coaching and participate in skill-building workshops as well as virtual and in-person learning experiences. The initiative empowers rural practitioners to build deeper networks, particularly across sectors; adopt bold solutions to the persistent challenge of substance use and misuse in rural communities; and reimagine how diverse systems with different missions can engage with one another to more effectively serve justice-involved individuals with substance use or co- occurring disorders.
Transforming Justice Final Report This report is designed to provide an overview of Multnomah County Oregon’s Transforming Justice project’s intent, goals, and design. While not an encyclopedic collection of all materials generated during the project, this report includes summaries of the work's most important processes and outputs.
In the News
Kentucky Supreme Court Launches Judicial Commission on Mental Health “The prevalence of mental illness, substance use disorder and intellectual disabilities in our society is undeniable,” Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said Thursday. “For courts and our justice system, this prevalence has a disproportionate impact as the justice system has become the default system for addressing the needs of those with behavioral and mental health issues," he added. "And our state prisons and county jails are, without question, the largest providers of mental health services in this state.”
County's 'largest mental health facility' is the jail. Everyone agrees there's a better way to provide treatment As talks about a new jail grow, community resources for people with mental health and substance abuse issues are too few and lack funding. A local jail built to detain defendants awaiting trial and the convicted serving time is burdened by being a detox center and mental health facility as well. A doctor who used to service the Monroe County Jail once said, in regard to mental illness, it was one of the sickest jails he's seen. People with mental illness are consistently filtering in and out of the jail's "revolving door."
CSG State of Justice Has links to news from New Hampshire about civilly committed individuals being housed in prison, and a crisis response program in Oregon.
Amid Oregon State Hospital Problems, Health Systems Go To Court Lawyers for the Oregon State Hospital and a key regional psychiatric facility, the Unity Center for Behavioral Health, recently squared off to determine who would house a patient that neither institution wanted. In a Clackamas County courtroom, the Unity lawyer sought to persuade a judge to find the state in contempt of court for failing to take care of the patient in its charge. Though the attempt failed, it’s the latest example of how the state’s housing of civilly committed people — placed under state supervision because they are deemed a threat to themselves or others — is itself becoming a matter for the courts.
IDOC's investing in state and local mental health programs to reduce crime Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) will fund programs that may help non-violent criminal offenders with mental health and substance use disorders to avoid jail time. "Where can we create off ramps for people who might have a mental illness or substance use disorder needs that they're not able to resolve or address on their own?"
After Push by Hochul and Adams, an Increase in Court-Ordered Mental Health Treatment According to state data, the number of people placed under court-ordered mental health treatment since April, when lawmakers expanded the court's power to make such determinations, has increased 60% from the same period a year before. But it appears the court's new powers, enacted through the state budget in April, do not actually account for the difference. According to the state Office of Mental Health (OMH), which oversees Kendra's Law, no orders have been issued under the new statutory language.
New Michigan Mediation Mental Health Program a Nationwide Success Model The State of Michigan’s mental health mediation program was developed by the Oakland Mediation Center in Oakland County, northwest of Detroit, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Community Mediation Association. Known as Michigan Behavioral Health Mediation Services (MBHMS,) it ensures that Community Mental Health clients statewide have access to a neutral, independent mediation professional to resolve matters related to their service providers.
Family begged for help with son’s mental illness. Now he’s charged with Belleville murder Family members said they repeatedly begged authorities to put Bailey Hamor into a long-term treatment facility but were told that beds weren’t available, he didn’t meet the criteria, or he couldn’t be involuntarily committed if he wasn’t an immediate danger. “My mom is so mad. She saw Bailey struggling. She saw him begging for help. What is wrong with the law in Illinois? Somebody is mentally ill, and they’re saying they’re going to kill someone, and (a hospital) can only keep them for three days? It’s ridiculous.”
When Mental Illness Leads to Dropped Charges, Patients Often Go Without Stabilizing Care People are sometimes released as soon as their case is dismissed. An involuntary commitment for a mental illness requires people to be an imminent threat to themselves or others. Gallagher said that’s a high bar to meet. By the time a motion for commitment goes before a judge after someone is found unlikely to become fit to stand trial, the defendant could have been jailed or hospitalized for months. That time frame makes it hard to prove an imminent threat remains, Gallagher said, and a judge is likely to deny the commitment.
HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” Tackles Mental Health Care and Parity Comedian John Oliver, host of “Last Week Tonight,” addressed “cracks in our broken mental health care system” in a segment informed by Patrick J. Kennedy and senior policy advisor David Lloyd (producers reached out to The Kennedy Forum in early June). The piece spotlighted several people who have struggled to secure mental health care, including a family that initially paid over 80,000 out of pocket after their health plan denied coverage for inpatient treatment for their son.
No “Back to Normal”: Employers Must Prioritize Mental Health in Next Phase of COVID-19 A recent McKinsey survey found 44 percent of employees who have not returned to in-person work believe doing so will negatively impact their mental health. For Black employees and employees with children, the numbers are even higher at more than 50 percent. Even among workers already back in the office, 36 percent report that returning to work undermined their mental health.
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