Task Force Publications and Resources

Task Force and Task Force Member Activities

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.

More New Task Force Resources Released

  • Dependency Alternative Program - Pima, AZ The award-winning Pima County Dependency Alternative Program is an innovative differentiated case management approach resulting from multi-system collaboration and leadership that identified gaps and solutions in the court and child welfare systems.
  • Judicial Wellbeing This compendium of well-being strategies — all scientifically tested and evidence-based — was developed to provide judges and court personnel with straightforward information on how to better promote their individual resilience in the face of ongoing, unprecedented changes in our court systems.
  • Understanding the Impact of Stigma This Court Leadership Brief defines stigma and describes its impact on marginalized populations.

Op-Ed: An L.A. Program Helps People Get Mental Health Care Instead of Jail Time. Why Not Expand It? California Superior Court Judge (and Task Force member) James Bianco discussed an LA program that helps people get mental health care instead of jail time, but yet is not being expanded. “In my experience, what works is the kind of help provided by the L.A. County Office of Diversion and Reentry. ODR has built a track record — supported by data — of moving people with mental health issues out of jail and onto a path to permanent supportive housing, keeping them off the streets and out of hospitals and incarceration long term.” But “ODR [does] not [have] funding sufficiency” to be able to help everyone who can benefit from the program. ODR’s housing program filled its cap of 2,200 slots last year. One report in 2019 by RAND Corporation found that, after being served by the ODR’S housing program, “74 percent had stable housing and 86 percent remained free of new felony convictions.”

Research and Resources

Effect of Psychiatric Advance Directives Facilitated by Peer Workers on Compulsory Admission Among People with Mental Illness: A Randomized Clinical Trial In this randomized clinical trial, 394 adults with schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, or schizoaffective disorder with a previous compulsory hospitalization were randomized into 2 groups. Participants in the PW-PAD group experienced significantly fewer compulsory admissions than those in the control group. These findings support the use of peer worker–facilitated psychiatric advance directives to prevent compulsory rehospitalization in people with severe mental illness.

Mental Health Care and Intimate Partner Violence: Unasked Questions This article addresses the overlap of trauma and mental disability, the failure of behavioral health services systemically to screen for domestic or intimate partner violence, the risk that abusive partners may manipulate the civil commitment system, and the likelihood that people with mental illness who experience domestic or intimate partner violence fail to receive sufficient trauma-informed treatment for their mental illness or other behavioral health needs.

How U.S. Society Has Treated Those with Mental Illnesses This article relates a history of neglect and stigmatization in examining the entities responsible for care of persons with mental illnesses, including the family, asylums and prisons. The article identifies trends of institutionalization, deinstitutionalization, and transinstitutionalisation, whereby large amounts of inpatients with mental illnesses moved out of psychiatric institutions, into the streets, and then into the criminal justice system. The article also analyses socioeconomic factors bearing on mental illness as a cause of crime, the high arrest rates and prison conditions experienced by those with mental illness, and public perceptions and myths about persons with mental illnesses.

Introduction to Telehealth for Behavioral Health Care Behavioral health — like other areas of health care — has changed significantly due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Mental health providers can now offer and get reimbursed for behavioral telehealth services. Behavioral telehealth also benefits patients who can access care from their homes with more options for safety, privacy, and convenience.

TAC Research Weekly: July Research Roundup Includes summaries of and links to three equity related research reports: Black patients with mental illness are more likely to be restrained in an emergency department; Race not a factor in characteristics of hospitalized patients who are reported to law enforcement; and Disparities in psychotropic medication prescribing in adults with schizophrenia.

Blog: Addressing Disparities by Diversifying Behavioral Health Research Eliminating disparities in behavioral health research is critical for achieving equitable outcomes for African Americans and other underrepresented groups. Building trustworthiness in research depends on diversifying the research workforce, studying DEIA recommendations and strategies, and transforming evidence into practice.

Addressing the Impact of Youth Mental Health in Minority Communities The Office of Minority Health (OMH) and SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity’s (OBHE) virtual roundtable will be a public-facing event intended to provide an interactive forum for parents, families, caregivers, and organizations that serve minority youth to discuss mental health. The roundtable will also allow OMH and OBHE to share resources and tools around mental health and address the concerns of students, parents, and school personnel.

Radical Collaboration: Breaking Down Barriers, Driving Towards Equity NRI’s Senior Director of Consulting and Research, Jennifer Bronson, Ph.D. spoke at the Alliance for Health Policy’s 2022 Summit on Mental Health in America. She was a part of a panel on Radical Collaboration: Breaking Down Barriers, Driving Towards Equity that covered innovative ways in which stakeholders across multiple sectors are partnering to coordinate and integrate mental health and substance use disorder care. Dr. Bronson discussed the CCBHC model and how it can improve health equity and whole-person mental health care.

Kennedy Satcher Policy Brief: Embedding Equity into 988 the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity (KSCMHE), an entity of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine has partnered with Beacon Health Options, to establish concrete recommendations towards equitable and effective administration of 988. This has been done through a comprehensive literature review to understand the context of inequity in psychiatric response and complemented with a leadership experience survey that was anonymously responded to by dozens of leaders in the behavioral health field across the country. Each recommendation also has opportunities for exploration and measurement of success into the future.

Criminal Justice Algorithm Predicts Risk of Biased Sentencing Researchers created an algorithm that predicts risks of biased, overly punitive sentencing. The tool performs with similar accuracy — and similar limits — to risk assessment algorithms already used to influence pretrial and parole decisions, authors say.

Crisis and Recovery Enhancement Resources In honor of BIPOC wellness and the community-defined practices that support our healthful connection to self and one another, we share a series of BIPOC-focused trainings from the CARE Resource Library that offer strengths-based, culturally responsive approaches to behavioral health. Additionally, we are pleased to include several recent podcast episodes from our partner organization, C4 Innovations, that address BIPOC mental health. Join us in working towards a future in which BIPOC well-being is actively promoted and everyone has access to care that affirms their culture.

GRAND Model Reduced Inpatient Hospitalizations Among GLMHC Adult Clients at Wagoner Hospital by 100 Percent The GRAND Model consists of 1) Urgent Recovery Centers (URC) that provide 24/7 crisis stabilization services; 2) iPads with the GRAND Model integrated support access app that are distributed to GLMHC patients, first responders, hospitals, and other community partners in order to provide instant access to a GLMHC therapist anytime, anywhere; and 3) all iPad and crisis calls are answered by fully trained, engaged, and awake clinicians who are on-site at a URC. Findings showed that, since its implementation in 2016, the GRAND Model had reduced inpatient hospitalizations among GLMHC adult client at Wagoner Hospital from 841 (2015) to 0 (2021), a reduction of 100%.

Mental Health Disabilities and the Criminalization of Houselessness: Challenging Municipal Sit-Lie Ordinances as Disparate Impact Discrimination Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Sit-lie laws and camping bans criminalize houselessness by imposing criminal penalties for sitting, lying, and sleeping in public spaces. These laws have a disproportionate impact on people with mental health disabilities. Part IV of this article provides a framework for a disparate impact discrimination claim under Title II of the ADA, explains why such a claim brought against a municipality for the enforcement of sit-lie laws is consistent with the purpose and mandate of the ADA, and considers the viability of affirmative defenses that may be raised by municipalities.

Patient Journey Map: Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Experiences The Addiction Policy Forum’s Patient Journey Map represents a common set of moments that individuals in treatment and recovery from a substance use disorder experience. While this map does not represent what happens to every individual who engages in treatment for addiction and recovery support, it highlights common elements, bright spots, and pain points in accessing care and finding and maintaining long-term recovery.

HHS Announces Its First-Ever Behavioral Health Recovery Innovation Challenge The goal of this challenge is to identify innovations developed by peer-run or community-based organizations, and entities that may partner with them—such as local or state governments, health systems, hospitals, or health plans—that advance recovery.

Sobering Centers Offer Low-Barrier Alternative to Jail or Emergency Rooms A sobering center is a community-based facility that can be an alternative to jail or a hospital for people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are now close to 40 sobering centers across the country that provide a bed or recliner, frequent monitoring to ensure the individual is recovering safely from the acute effects of alcohol and/or drugs, and a range of other benefits to people recovering from acute intoxication.

CSG Justice Center Justice Briefing Includes links to two upcoming webinars: Using Local Innovation to Address Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice Programs, and Strategies for Planning and Implementing a Comprehensive Crisis System.

Mental Health First Aid Newsletter Articles include Why Employee Mental Health Should be Part of Your Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Strategy; Incorporating Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging into Mental Health First Aid; and Trauma and PTSD: What Are They and How Can I Help?

Texas AOT Practitioner's Guide The content of this guide should equip both clinical and legal practitioners with the basic knowledge they need to plan and launch an AOT program in Texas and serve as a reference worth keeping handy in day-to-day practice.

In the News

Local Judge's View: Incarceration is no way to treat mental illness Criminal justice agencies, including the courts, are trying to find creative solutions for this problem. At a mental health summit in the Twin Cities several innovative ideas to address mental health in the justice system were presented and discussed:

  • New screening tools that can be administered at a jail at the time of arrest and used in conjunction with the pretrial assessment tools the courts already use to evaluate risk and identify need for services.
  • Having social workers stationed at the local jails to better connect people with mental illness to appropriate services in the community.
  • Connecting mentally ill inmates with peer-to-peer supports early in the justice process.
  • Expanding Assertive Community Treatment, or ACT, teams.

Red-Flag Laws Show the Limits of the Legal System Ideally, a judge presented with a red flag petition should have the authority to require key steps toward stabilization and recovery–for example, to mandate that the person undergo a mental health evaluation and comply with prescribed mental health treatment. Unfortunately, the court has no power to compel subjects of petitions because they are civil, not criminal proceedings, and the individuals haven’t violated any laws.

Dashawn Carter Missed Nearly 100 Clinic Appointments at Rikers Before Dying, Records Show Most of the no-shows — likely for mental health appointments — were because correction officers failed to escort Carter to clinics located outside of the main housing areas, a Board of Correction review revealed. Carter spent approximately two months in jail before he was deemed unfit to stand trial — and then waited another two months before jail officials transferred him to a psychiatric facility where the evaluation was conducted.

Texas must stop punting mental health care to the county jails Roughly a third of the state’s psychiatric beds are offline. Industries all over are mired in staffing shortages. But the problems in the state’s network of psychiatric hospitals are particularly distressing, with significant repercussions for patients, county jailers and taxpayers. The wait times in Dallas County offer a picture of how bad the situation has become. Female inmates waiting for a bed in a hospital that is not maximum security used to wait about 20 days in 2017; now they wait 353 days. For men, the current wait is 401 days.

Georgia Launches States Supporting Familiar Faces Initiative to Improve Outcomes for People Who Have Frequent Contact with Health and Justice Systems The States Supporting Familiar Faces (SSFF) initiative will build on local and community efforts to improve public safety and better serve “familiar faces”—people with serious mental illness and substance use disorders who frequently cycle through jails, crisis services, homeless shelters, and hospitals. As part of this initiative, community leaders will receive 18 months of intensive support from The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center including recommendations for policy change based on analysis of local data and best practices in Georgia and nationally.

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Action: Wyoming Invests in Community Supervision, Behavioral Health Supports The state enacted legislation in 2020 to strengthen behavioral health treatment and programming for people in the criminal justice system. Among other measures, this act requires the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and WDOC to collaborate on developing standardized, evidence-based practices and guidelines for behavioral health programming serving people in the criminal justice system. It also requires behavioral health treatment providers and WDOC to share results for assessments of substance addiction, mental health, and co-occurring disorders with one another to support treatment access and continuity and sets up quality assurance mechanisms to monitor behavioral health assessments statewide.

Connecticut’s Statewide Youth Mobile Crisis Services In Connecticut’s adult and youth mobile crisis model, mobile crisis services comprise multi-disciplinary teams. While they can connect to a second person (via telehealth), typically, a single clinician responds to calls. However, the state is considering shifting to a standard two-person, in-person team model.


Mental Health in the Workplace It is incredibly important for organizations to support staff with mental health problems. Regretfully, a lack of support for staff suffering from mental illness is one of the top reasons for missed deadlines and shed productivity. To back up them, it’s important for employers to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorder. Untreated mental illnesses can result in serious consequences. To aid employees beat their complications, here are some steps employers usually take.

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