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.

News and Information
County and Program Information
Center of Excellence Blog
Resource Center

Prison Health Care Panel (C-SPAN)

  • Watch the video -- The Alliance for Health Reform held an August 1st briefing on the challenges of delivering health care services to a growing prison population. Panelists include advocates and former inmates.

Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act Amended

  • In March 2014,House Bill 21 (PN 114) passed the Senate unanimously and was subsequently signed by Governor Corbett. This amendment to the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act (MHPA) permits a licensed psychiatrist or a licensed psychologist to perform the examination regarding competence to stand trial and/or mental state at the time of the offense under Section 402 and 404 of the Mental Health Procedures Act. Previously these evaluations could be conducted only by psychiatrists, under the MHPA.

Center of Excellence-Authored Article Published in Psychiatric Services

  • Cross, A. B., Mulvey, E. P., Schubert, C. A., Griffin, P. A., Filone, S., Winckworth-Prejsnar, K., DeMatteo, D. & Heilbrun, K. (2014). An Agenda for Advancing Research on Crisis Intervention Teams for Mental Health Emergencies. Psychiatric Services, 65(4), 530-536. The article was authored by the staff of the Center of Excellence. It analyzes previous literature on CIT and offers recommendations for future research.

Upcoming Webinars

The Use of Peer Support Services in State Correctional Facilities (SAMHSA GAINS Center)

  • SAMHSA GAINS Center free webinar on the use of peer supports in state correctional facilities. This webinar is free and will take place over two sessions: August 27th from 3:00pm to 4:30pm and September 3rd from 3:00pm to 4:30pm.

(National Institute of Corrections; August 27th, 2014; 1:00 PM ET)

  • National Institute of Corrections (NIC) webinar that will delve further into health reform issues in criminal justice and corrections settings. In this one and half hour presentation you will hear from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) at Health and Human Services (HHS), along with national correctional health care experts in this topic.

Mental Health and Criminal Justice in the News

A Common Link Among Female Criminals: Brain Injury (LiveScience)

  • Nearly 40 percent of women in prison in Ontario, Canada, have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a study published this month in the Journal of Correctional Health Care. The study, the first to look at the rate of TBIs among prison populations in Canada, contributes to a growing body of evidence associating blows to the head with a multitude of long-term, negative health outcomes, from homelessness and substance abuse to risky behavior and incarceration.

Are California Medicaid Policies Sentencing People with Mental Illnesses to Prison? (Imperial Valley News)

  • Researchers from the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics have linked tighter Medicaid policies governing antipsychotic drugs with increased incarceration rates for individuals with schizophrenia.

Attorney General Holder Announces Plans for Federal Law Enforcement Personnel to Begin Carrying Naloxone (Department of Justice)

  • In a new memorandum released Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder urged federal law enforcement agencies to identify, train and equip personnel who may interact with a victim of a heroin overdose with the drug naloxone. This latest step by the Attorney General will pave the way for certain federal agents -- such as emergency medical personnel -- to begin carrying the potentially life-saving drug known for effectively restoring breathing to a victim in the midst of a heroin or opioid overdose.

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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