Back to top

Do you have information on crisis intervention teams?

Our nation’s jails, prisons, and community corrections agencies are confronted daily with substantial numbers of persons with mental illness in custody and under supervision. Mental illness in corrections demands an urgency of response, services, and care. Correctional staff have attempted to manage individuals suffering mental illness with varying degrees of success. In searching for meaningful methods of response, some agencies, in partnership with stakeholder communities, have implemented Crisis Intervention Teams (CITs).

CITs have matured from a law enforcement first responder model to new community partnerships with corrections. This team approach incorporates community, frontline law enforcement, and corrections agencies in a collaborative effort to address this growing problem. CITs are effective in enhancing correctional staffs’ knowledge and skills, aiding administrators in improved management and care for a special population, reducing liability and cost, improving community partnerships for increased access to resources and supports, and increasing safety for all.

Participants will be able to:
1. Describe the core elements of CIT.
2. Describe the benefits of CIT for correctional staff, community stakeholders, persons with mental illnesses, and local criminal justice and mental health agencies.
3. Identify ways to sustain a systemwide CIT program supported by key stakeholders and active community involvement.
4. Assess agency readiness to start a CIT program and identify resources for implementation.

NIC Resources

Crisis Intervention Teams: A Frontline Response to Mental Illness in Corrections [Lesson Plans and Participant's Manual]

(A zip file will download from the link above.)

The tools, strategies, and techniques that will allow corrections staff, mental health service providers, and advocates to work together to develop and implement a crisis intervention team (CIT) are presented. CITs help reduce crisis situations, improve safety, and promote better outcomes for persons with mental illness. Participants will learn: about the core elements of a locally developed and owned CIT for managing mental illness in prisons, jails, and community corrections; how to develop collaborative partnerships and implement a CIT model that takes a team approach engaging community stakeholders, including corrections agencies, local mental health agencies, family advocacy groups, and others; and how to defend a CIT’s effectiveness in enhancing correctional staff’s knowledge and skills, aiding administrators in improved management and care for a special population, reducing liability and cost, improving community partnerships for increased access to resources and supports, and increasing safety for all. Overall, this training program focuses on building an agency’s capacity to implement a locally owned and administered CIT program and the training for that program. Sections of this manual include: crisis intervention teams—history, benefits, and successes; partnership and stakeholder development; organizational leadership and program sustainability; data collection and evaluation; planning and preparing for CIT training; and Program Development and Implementation Plan (PDIP).

Crisis Intervention Teams: An Effective Response to Mental Illness in Corrections [Satellite/Internet Broadcast]

(You can order the broadcast from the link above.) 

CITs have matured from a law enforcement first responder model to new community partnerships with corrections. This team approach incorporates community, frontline law enforcement, and corrections agencies in a collaborative effort to address this growing problem. CITs are effective in enhancing correctional staffs’ knowledge and skills, aiding administrators in improved management and care for a special population, reducing liability and cost, improving community partnerships for increased access to resources and supports, and increasing safety for all.

Health Reform and Public Safety: New Opportunities, Better Outcomes [Internet Broadcast]

(You can order the broadcast from the link above.) 

Research shows that there are a disproportionate number of justice involved individuals suffering from chronic illness and/ or mental health and substance abuse disorders. We also know that a majority of the justice-involved individuals are young adults and unemployed or earn an income that is well below the federal poverty line leaving them without the ability to obtain health care. There is now an opportunity to enhance collaboration between the criminal justice/corrections and healthcare systems. Early estimates indicate a significant number of justice-involved individuals may be eligible for provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), specifically; enrollment in Medicaid or the ability to purchase health care coverage through state health insurance exchanges. Because of the many health care expansion possibilities for this population we are witnessing an unprecedented opportunity to help connect the justice population to healthcare coverage and the associated healthcare services.

Federal, state and local criminal justice systems are poised to change the way they do business with the advent of the ACA. It is now possible for millions of low income, justice- involved individuals to obtain healthcare or insurance coverage for their physical and behavioral health needs. This far reaching system change will impact every decision point in the criminal justice system from arrest to individuals returning to the community upon release.

A Guide to Preparing for and Responding to Jail Emergencies: Self-Audit Checklists, Resource Materials, Case Studies

This guide “will be broadly useful to U.S. jails in planning for crises, emergencies, and natural disasters and in developing the appropriate response capacities to cope with these events where they cannot be prevented” (p. vi). Six sections are contained in this publication: introduction; conducting an audit; Emergency Preparedness Self-Audit Checklist for Smaller Jails; Emergency Preparedness Self-Audit Checklist for Larger Jails; resource materials—leadership issues during crises, prevention of jail emergencies, and emergency teams; and case studies for the Maury County Jail fire, disturbance and escape at the Rensselaer County Jail (a new direct supervision jail in Troy, NY), Hurricane Andrew and the Florida Department of Corrections, and riots at Camp Hill (PA) State Correctional Institution.

A Guide to Preparing for and Responding to Prison Emergencies: Self-Audit Checklists, National Survey Results, Resource Materials, [and] Case Studies

Information regarding prison emergency preparedness is presented. This guide is comprised of the following sections: introduction; conducting an audit; self-audit checklists--emergency preparedness, natural disaster/HAZMAT/fire, and counterterrorism; Report on the National Survey of Emergency Readiness in Prisons; resource materials--leadership issues during crises, prevention of prison emergencies, emergency teams, and prisons and counterterrorism; and case studies.

Community Resources

De-Escalation Techniques Lesson Plan

The CIT officer will be able to secure a scene that involves an individual who is at risk of harming himself/herself or others due to mental illness, substance abuse or other brain disorder by utilizing de-escalation techniques that minimize the risk of injury to the consumer and law enforcement officers and maximize the probability of a voluntary response to receive treatment. The CIT officer will also be able to discuss the issue of stigma and the importance of a humane response to the person in crisis because of a mental illness, substance abuse problem or other brain disorder. 

De-Escalation PowerPoint

De-escalation Techniques - Basic communication skills - State of Georgia Crisis Intervention Team Training Program

Web Resources

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Suggested Course Materials 

Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission

Guidelines for Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) In North Carolina

North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety - Governor's Crime Commission

University of Memphis CIT Center

University of Memphis, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Crisis Intervention Training: Current Practices and Recommendations for California

California Institute For Behavioral Health Solutions

Cell Extractions Student Handout

Nevada Department of Corrections 

Emergency Procedures for Private Prisons

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Crisis Intervention Teams: A Community-Based Initiative

Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA)

Crisis Intervention Teams and People With Mental Illness

Melissa S. Morabito, Amy N. Kerr, Amy Watson, Jeffrey Draine, Victor Ottati and Beth Angell

Prisons and Disasters

Savilonis, Melissa Anne