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Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2002
452 pages
This is a report from the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project, which is a national, 2-year effort to prepare recommendations that local, State, and Federal policymakers, as well as criminal justice and mental health practitioners can use to improve the criminal justice system's response to people with mental illness.
Following two meetings of a focus group composed of various criminal justice and mental health stakeholders in 1999, project partners established four advisory boards that collectively included more than 100 leading State legislators, criminal justice professionals from all components of the criminal justice system, victim advocates, consumers, family members, and mental health professionals who represented all aspects of community mental health services. This report contains project policy statements, recommendations for implementation, and program examples. Underlying project policy statements is the perspective that from a person's first involvement with the mental health system to initial contact with law enforcement agents, to pretrial procedures, adjudication, sentencing, incarceration, and re-entry, there are numerous opportunities for agents of change to focus their efforts on improving the response to people with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal justice system. Part One of this report contains policy statements that explain the opportunities available to practitioners in the criminal justice and mental health systems to identify a person who has a mental illness and to respond in a way that both recognizes the individual's needs and civil liberties while promoting public safety and accountability. In addition, the policy statements summarize elements of programs and policies that would enable law enforcement, court officials, corrections administrators, and mental health providers to ensure access to effective treatment and services and to maintain the individual on a path toward recovery. In Part Two of this report, policy statements describe the overarching themes of the report. These themes indicate that the implementation of each of the policy statements in Part One of the report call for many of the same components, i.e., collaboration, training, evaluations, and an effective mental health system. A subject index and appended glossary, program examples cited in the report, an explanation of Federal Medicaid and disability program rules, project history/methodology, a list of Steering Committee members, and a 172-item bibliography

Date Published: June 1, 2002