Justice and Mental Health Collaboration
The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program funds grants and assistance to states and local government agencies to tackle the problem of serious mental illness among the nation’s nonviolent offenders. Early intervention and treatment for those suffering from serious mental illness or substance abuse disorders reduces the incidence of offenses and promotes greater public safety.
The program has seven goals:
- Protect public safety by early intervention to treatment for people with mental illness or a co-occurring disorder who become involved with the criminal or juvenile justice system;
- Provide courts with appropriate mental health and substance abuse treatment options;
- Maximize the use of diversion from prosecution and use of alternative sentences through community supervision and use of graduated sanctions;
- Promote adequate training for criminal justice system personnel about mental illness and substance abuse disorders and appropriate responses to people with such illnesses;
- Promote adequate training for mental health and substance abuse treatment personnel about criminal offenders with mental illness;
- Promote communication among adult or juvenile justice personnel, mental health and co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorder treatment personnel; and
- Promote communication, collaboration, and intergovernmental partnerships among tribal, municipal, county-, and state-elected officials with respect to mentally ill offenders.
This program’s funded activities include the following:
- Working within the criminal justice system to train and advise officers and personnel about mental illness and substance abuse disorders and ways to respond to individuals with these issues;
- Working within the court system to increase the availability of appropriate treatment options so that courts do not have to rely on prosecution alone; and
- Working in the mental health system to train personnel on the characteristics of criminal offenders with mental illness and how to coordinate with the criminal justice system to ensure positive outcomes for this population.
Serious mental health problems, substance abuse disorders, and incarceration all increase the risk of homelessness. The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration supports this population by offering alternatives that can prevent homelessness and keep communities safe.
States and local governments can apply for this funding as a collaborative effort between the criminal justice system and the state mental health and substance abuse agency.
Nonviolent offenders suffering from serious mental health issues or co-occuring mental health and substance abuse disorders are the primary beneficiaries of funded programs.
Grants are awarded competitively on an annual basis to eligible applicants.