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Council of State Governments (CSG) (Lexington KY)

“This white paper presents a shared framework for reducing recidivism and behavioral health problems among individuals under correctional control or supervision—that is, for individuals in correctional facilities or who are on probation or parole. The paper is written for policymakers, administrators, and practitioners committed to making the most effective use of scarce resources to improve outcomes for individuals with behavioral health problems who are involved in the corrections system. It is meant to provide a common structure for corrections and treatment system professionals to begin building truly collaborative responses to their overlapping service population. These responses include both behind-the-bars and community-based interventions. This framework is designed to achieve each system’s goals and ultimately to help millions of individuals rebuild their lives while on probation or after leaving prison or jail” (p. viii). Three parts follow an introduction regarding the need for a framework intended for coordinating services across systems: current responses to individuals with mental health and substance use disorders and corrections involvement—mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, mental health and substance use appearing together, corrections—custody, control, and supervision, screening and assessment, the relationship between behavioral health needs and criminogenic risk/need—assembling the parts, and closing thoughts on RNR (risk-need-responsivity); the framework—strong foundations, criminogenic risk and behavior health needs, application to resource allocation and individual case responses, and goal for the framework’s use; and operationalizing the framework and next steps.

Adults with Behavioral Health Needs Under Correctional Supervision: A Shared Framework for Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery Cover

"Faced with the most crowded prison system in the nation and overwhelmed probation and parole systems, state leaders in Alabama pursued justice reinvestment. After extensive analyses identified key challenges in the state’s criminal justice system, policymakers developed a policy framework designed to reduce prison overcrowding and strengthen community-based supervision. Justice reinvestment legislation was enacted in May 2015 and is projected to avert $380 million in construction and operations cost by FY2021." Sections of this brief include: overview; summary of justice reinvestment process—challenge, findings, and solutions; summary of SB 67 policies to strengthen community-based supervision and to reduce recidivism, prioritize prison space for violent and dangerous offenders, and ensure supervision for everyone upon release from prison, and expand victim notification; looking ahead; sustainability policies; and "Projected Impact of SB 67 on Alabama's Prison population" chart.

Alabama’s Justice Reinvestment Approach cover

"The best way to help prevent a youth’s subsequent contact with the juvenile justice system is to prevent him or her from being involved with the system in the first place. The field has been engaged in significant efforts to divert status offenders and other low-risk youth from ever coming into contact with the system. The focus of this white paper is on what works to promote successful reentry for those youth who are under the supervision of a juvenile justice system, which encompasses a process that begins the moment any youth comes into contact with the system, no matter how brief or at what level, to support their successful transition from supervision to a crime-free and productive adulthood" (p. 3). This white paper is divided into two parts. Part One—Policies and Practices That Reduce Recidivism and Improve Other Youth Outcomes: Principle 1--base supervision, service, and resource-allocation decisions on the results of validated risk and needs assessments; Principle 2--adopt and effectively implement programs and services demonstrated to reduce recidivism and improve other youth outcomes, and use data to evaluate system performance and direct system improvements; Principle 3--employ a coordinated approach across service systems to address youth’s needs; and Principle 4--tailor system policies, programs, and supervision to reflect the distinct developmental needs of adolescents. Part Two—Key Implementation Strategies, Structures, and Supports: Principle 1--base supervision, service, and resource-allocation decisions on the results of validated risk and needs assessments; Principle 2-- adopt and effectively implement programs and services demonstrated to reduce recidivism and improve other youth outcomes, and use data to evaluate system performance and direct system improvements; Principle 3--employ a coordinated approach across service systems to address youth’s needs; and Principle 4--tailor system policies, programs, and supervision to reflect the distinct developmental needs of adolescents.

Core Principles for Reducing Recidivism and Improving Other Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System Cover

The research on “what works” with youth involved in the juvenile justice system has grown substantially in the last two decades. Taking account of this new research, a number of states and jurisdictions have made significant changes to their juvenile justice policies and practices. To further this pursuit, this article offers guidance that draws from the most recent research and promising practices based on the new evidence. This article focuses primarily on juvenile justice policies and practices for youth returning to their communities from out-of-home placements (e.g., secure confinement, residential placements). Topics discussed include: the reentry continuum; overarching case management; and six critical elements of juvenile reentry. Addition information and program examples are provided for each of the six elements—assessment of risk for reoffending, strengths, and needs; cognitive-behavioral interventions; family engagement; release readiness; permanency planning; and staffing and workforce competencies.

Critical Elements of Juvenile Reentry in Research and Practice Cover

“The goal of this project is to make existing research and practices accessible while encouraging learners to ask the right questions at the right times and develop productive collaborations and programs that serve the needs of their communities. While the curriculum is presented as a comprehensive resource on how to plan and implement a mental health court, it is also designed to be easily adapted to supplement existing trainings, for new mental health court team members, or as a tune-up for teams that are already in operation. What’s more, the curriculum’s introductory lessons on criminal justice and behavioral health present information that is relevant to any type of collaboration between these two disciplines.” Modules following introductions to behavioral health and criminal justice are: understanding mental health courts; your community, your mental health court; the mental health court team; target population; designing policies and procedures for program participation; case planning; facilitating the success of mental health court participants; and launching and sustaining your program.

Developing A Mental Health Court Cover

"An extensive data analysis coupled with over 50 in-person interviews with local and state leaders led to the identification of key recommendations for reducing the number of people with behavioral health disorders cycling in and out of jail." Sections of this report include: background; summary of core challenges; funding for behavioral health treatment and services; "Franklin County, OH Criminal System Flow" chart; methodology; sources of data for the analysis chart; assessing behavioral health disorders and risk of recidivism in the jail population; measuring the population of homelessness; findings—more than half of all adults entering jail return within three years of release, information on risk and needs is not systematically collected and used to inform decision making, people who have behavioral health disorders stay longer in jail and return more frequently than those without behavioral health disorders, and many people with behavioral health disorders released from jail are not receiving the treatment and supports they need in the community; average length of stay in jail for people with behavioral health disorders chart; percentage of people with behavioral health disorders rebooked within three years of release chart; and eight recommendations.

Franklin County, Ohio: A County Justice and Behavioral Health Systems Improvement Project cover

The Behavioral Health Framework developed to “help professionals in the corrections and behavioral health systems take a coordinated approach to reducing recidivism and advancing recovery” is explained (p. 2). Sections of this publication cover: building effective partnerships through a shared vision; health care reform and opportunities for expanded access to behavioral health services; prioritizing enrollment to facilitate transition; the risk-need-responsivity (RNR) model; implications for successful transition and reentry; Guidelines 1 and 2—Assess; Guidelines 3 and 4—Plan; Guidelines 5 and 6—Identify; and Guidelines 7 through 10—Coordinate. Appendixes to this document are: “Evidence-Based Practices and Programs for Individuals with Behavioral Health Needs in the Criminal Justice System”; and “Information Sharing in the Criminal Justice-Behavioral Health Context: HIPAA and 42 CFR”.

Guidelines for the Successful Transition of People with Behavioral Health Disorders from Jail and Prison Cover

“This guide is organized around policymakers’ common questions about people with mental illnesses under community corrections supervision and the type and effectiveness of strategies designed to respond to this population” (p.3). Sections include: executive summary; introduction; the extent and nature of the problem; strategies to improve outcomes for people with mental illnesses under community corrections supervision; future research questions and implications for policy and practice; and conclusion.

Improving Outcomes for People with Mental Illnesses Under Community Corrections Supervision: A Guide to Research-Informed Policy and Practice Cover

"This report introduces essential elements for responding to people with mental illnesses at the pretrial stage, including decisions about pretrial release and diversion. These elements encourage data collection not only to help individual communities, but also for future researchers who are dedicated to these important questions."

Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses at the Pretrial Stage Cover

While this guide is written for police departments, sheriff’s offices should find it helpful for developing approaches to interacting with mentally ill people. The step-by-step program design process incorporates seven actions. Additionally, program designs in action are covered showing responses to specific problems and also jurisdictional characteristics.

Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses: Tailoring Law Enforcement Initiatives to Individual Jurisdictions Cover


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