Reducing Justice Involvement For People with Mental Illness.

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The Pennsylvania Mental Health and Justice Center of Excellence is a collaborative effort of Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh. It is funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The purpose of the Center is to work with Pennsylvania communities to identify points of interception at which an intervention can be made to prevent individuals with mental illness from entering or penetrating deeper into the criminal justice system.

The Center will work collaboratively with the Commonwealth and locales in planning and implementing programs, providing information to promote their use of evidence-based practices and serve as a resource for technical assistance and training. The Center will also host a central repository for collected data and information on criminal justice/mental health responses throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Click here to view the official announcement of the PA Mental Health and Justice Center of Excellence.

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Upcoming Webinars

The Council of State Governments Justice Center will host two webinars in March about BJA's Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grant solicitation. For more information, click here.

Mental Health and Criminal Justice in the News

Memphis Business Leaders Discuss Overcoming Challenges with Employing Individuals with Criminal Records (CSG Justice Center)

  • A group of influential local business leaders joined state and local policymakers in Memphis (Tenn.) last month to discuss opportunities and challenges associated with connecting individuals with criminal records to employment.

Woman with Mental Illness Stashed in Jail (The Oregonian)

  • A woman suffering from a severe mental illness sat locked in isolation in a Yamhill County (Ore.) jail for 10 days awaiting a state psychiatric bed. She was suicidal, hearing voices and unable to get proper medication to treat her psychosis. She was never charged with a crime.

It's Time to Stop Recycling the Mentally Ill (Treatment Advocacy Center)

  • A new diversion program in Minnesota designed to keep mentally ill offenders in treatment and out of jail could save lives and money.

These Programs Are Helping Fix a Broken U.S. Prison System (The Huffington Post)

  • There are several programs across the country that are restoring justice and empowering inmates so they can benefit society on the outside. Here are six initiatives helping fix America's broken prison system.

Technology and Continuity of Care: Connecting Justice and Health (COCHS)

  • Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS), a national non-profit organization that builds partnerships between jails and community health care, received funds from SAMHSA to develop nine case studies on data-sharing between the criminal justice and the health care sectors for continuity of care. Read the full report here.

Troubled Veterans Get Treatment, Not Jail (News-Times)

  • Two programs that connect arrested veterans to treatment - rather than jail - report that many are getting their lives back on track. Some 81 percent of veterans in the program run by the Veterans Health Administration have not been arrested again.

Ohio Working on Drug Prison as a Way to Help Sentenced Addicts (

  • Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni says the state is looking at a unique way to deal with the growing number of drug addicts who are sentenced to prison. The proposal requires the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to convert an existing facility into a substance abuse recovery prison.

Click here to find information by county including descriptive data (e.g. crime & mental health stats) and contact information for county agencies.

Click here to find program information by intercept.

Looking to have questions answered or to discuss issues with your peers in other counties? Our blog will give you the opportunity to initiate conversations with the Center of Excellence staff and your peers.

Click here to view our blog or start a conversation!

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