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State and County Collaboration: Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2008
10 pages

This paper highlights a range of collaborative efforts between State and local mental health and criminal justice systems to reduce costs and improve public safety, programming, and the lives of offenders with mental health needs.


Through State legislation, Florida developed State and county collaboration to create a grant program for local communities. The Reinvestment Grant Program provides funding to counties for programs that increase public safety by reducing recidivism, avoiding overspending on corrections by reducing the need for these services. Individuals involved in these initiatives are currently involved in the criminal justice system or are at risk of being so. In Utah, the Salt Lake County Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) was created as part of Salt Lake County's Criminal Justice Services Division. The 25 members of CJAC represent agencies and organizations at all levels, city, county, and State. A subcommittee of CJAC, called the Span committee, oversees additional programs, with blended funding, which are the expansion of the Third District Mental Health Court, the RIO Housing program, and specialized probation and parole for mental health cases. The subcommittee is collaborative in nature. The Texas Council on Offenders with Mental Impairments (TCOMI) was established in 1987, which in turn created the Rusk Diversion Project in 2003 in partnership with Harris County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority (MHMRA), the Harris County Sheriff, and the courts. The criminal justice system has become increasing overwhelmed with offenders who are mentally ill. This special population of offenders requires a continuum of care in order to break the cycle of the revolving door of the criminal justice system. Many State and county governments have begun to recognize the advantages of collaboration in order to accomplish the goals of treatment and public safety through reduced recidivism. The three States and local communities featured in this paper represent a range of collaborative efforts to reduce costs and improve public safety, programming, and the lives of offenders with mental health needs. Figures

Date Published: December 1, 2008