In May 2009, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) hosted a National Policy Summit on Building Safer Communities: Improving Police Response to Persons with Mental Illness. The goal of the summit was to begin a dialogue resulting in recommendations for local, state, federal and tribal organizations that will improve the safety of community members and law enforcement officers when responding to crisis calls involving a person living with mental illness. The report from this summit was recently released and can be found on the IACP website.
NAMI Massachusetts and the Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH), with support from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, have contracted with DMA Health Strategies to research and write a position paper. The topic will be programs that divert individuals living with serious mental illness who engage in problematic but non-violent behaviors from involvement in the criminal justice system by providing them with more appropriate mental health services. The position paper will evaluate various funding strategies that have been used in other states to determine what would be a good funding strategy for the Commonwealth to sustain proven program model(s) such as Crisis Intervention Teams, jail diversion, mental health courts and others. The project is expected to be completed within six months.
In addition to CIT in Action, NAMI maintains a listserv of local leaders interested in CIT, jail diversion and other issues related to the criminalization of people with mental illness. We use the list to distribute announcements and information, for urgent calls to action on legislation and to send requests for information. If you are interested in joining our Forensic Leaders listserv, please e-mail Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.