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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Certified Peer Specialist Training for Veterans in Philadelphia, PA. For more information, click here.

Mental Health and Criminal Justice in the News

Proposal for Mental Health Sites Opposed by Some Advocates (Star Tribune)

  • A proposed network of facilities intended to reduce the number of mentally ill people who languish in county jails is facing resistance from mental health advocates, who say Minnesota should focus instead on a statewide expansion of proven intervention programs.

VA Jail Release Program Provides Veterans with Housing, Health Care (Hartford Courant)

  • A month before he left prison, Jeffrey Murdock, a veteran who suffers from depression and multiple sclerosis, thought his future would entail living as a patient in a state mental hospital. But Murdock's outlook changed drastically after a Veterans Health Administration social worker met with him while he was still in prison.

Experts Clash Over Video of Dallas Police Shooting Mentally Ill Man (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Police tactical experts disagreed Tuesday over whether two Dallas officers acted properly last June when they fatally shot a mentally ill man who was holding a screwdrive.

DSHS Should Be Mitigating, Not Litigating, Mental-Health Problems (Seattle Times)

  • The state Department of Social and Health Services reported waiting lists as long as 174 days, just to get an evaluation for competency. The plaintiffs’ attorneys say any wait longer than seven days is indefensible.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury in Prisons (Pacific Standard)

  • Offenders with brain injuries make up a huge percentage of prison populations; they also enter the criminal justice system earlier, and stay in it longer.

Woman Gets Probation for Crashing Through Playground Fence (Idaho Press-Tribune)

  • A woman who was in the midst of a mental health crisis when she drove her car through a fence onto a schoolyard while 31 children were playing was sentenced Monday to five years of probation.

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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