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Framework for Law Enforcement Responses to People With Mental Health Needs

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2019
2 pages
This article outlines the content of a new online publication of the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSGJC), which presents a framework for implementing effective law enforcement responses to people who have mental health needs.
The framework focuses on six aspects of a framework for an agency’s appropriate and effective response in situations that involve persons with mental health needs. The features of the framework pertain to 1) committed leadership; 2) clear policies and procedures for responding to people with mental health needs; 3) a staff with quality mental health and stabilization training; 4) a full array of community mental health services and supports for persons with mental health needs; 5) the collection and analysis of data that measure the police-mental health collaborations against four key outcomes; and 6) a formal and ongoing process for reviewing and improving performance. According to a CSGJC representative, this framework helps communities build comprehensive efforts and adapt them to the scale needed for a particular jurisdiction to meet the following performance goals: increased connections to resources, reduced repeat encounters of mentally ill persons with law enforcement personnel, the minimization of arrests of persons with mental illness, and the reduced use of force in encounters with persons who have mental illness. The CSGJC has established a network of law enforcement and mental health learning sites that focus on improving responses to individuals who are having mental and emotional crises. Now that this framework has been created, the next steps call for piloting its use with several communities, which will produce data that shows its effectiveness. This article provides online access to the report profiled.
Date Published: August 1, 2019