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The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program will support collaboration to improve public safety responses and outcomes for individuals with mental health or co-occurring substance use.

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $536,481)

The lead applicant Judiciary of the Northern Mariana Islands (Judiciary), one of the three coequal branches of government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), with WestCare Pacific Islands, Inc., a subrecipient and a mental health agency, hereby requests a grant award of $536,481.00 to plan and implement the CNMI Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) Project (Project) for a period of 36 month.
Behavioral health services are scarce in the rural CNMI, and cross-collaboration of intergovernmental agencies to strategically address individuals with underlying mental health disorders and co-occurring substance use disorders in the criminal justice system are lacking. To address these issues, the Project aims to expand the NMI Judiciary’s Mental Health Court Docket (MHC) and to implement a strategic, cross-systems coordination and collaboration to assess, identify, and treat affected adults on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
The Project meets priority areas outlined by BJA including: (1) Project(s) designed to promote racial equity and the removal of barriers to access and opportunity; and (2) Projects occurring in and serving rural communities. In addition, the Project addresses several Program-Specific Priority Areas: (A) Promotion of effective strategies to expand the use of mental health courts and related services. (B) Use of interventions that have been shown by empirical evidence to reduce recidivism. (C) Use of validated tools to identify and prioritize individuals with a moderate or high risk. Structured in two-phases, the Project will consist of planning and implementation periods. Three (3) goals will guide project activities: (1) Improve responses to and outcomes for adults with MHD or MHSUD involved in the justice system; (2) Facilitate collaboration to strengthen cross-system connections and encourage system-wide improvements; and (3) Increase access to person centered, trauma informed, culturally responsive, and evidence-based MHD and MHSUD treatment.
During the planning year, the partners will focus on four (4) primary activities: (1) A timely, efficient, and coordinated screening, assessment, and referral process using validated instruments; (2) Cross-agency collaboration that facilitates “community mapping” informed by the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) to support increased referrals and explore diversion opportunities; (3) Increased access to MHD and MHSUD treatment services for the NMI Judiciary’s MHC participants; and (4) Expansion of the MHC to increase participants by 25% in year two and by 50% in year three.
Approximately fifteen (15) adults with MHD or MHSUD will be served over the life of the Project.

Date Created: September 26, 2023