The Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Workgroup Releases Policy Recommendations

12/6/2019


The Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Workgroup is a coalition of 10 national organizations – including NAMI – that work together to address the intersection of the criminal justice system and mental health and substance use conditions. The workgroup fills a need for a coordinated and sustained effort to advocate for policy changes at the federal level. 

This week the workgroup released a consensus document outlining policy recommendations to Congress and the administration. The document highlights where they found common ground on policy issues that impact people with mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system. This includes: 

  • Diversion
  • Mental health care in jails and prisons
  • Medicaid
  • Workforce development
  • Research
  • Juvenile justice reform

Estimates show that nearly 2 million people with mental illness are booked into our communities’ jails and prisons every year. Once incarcerated, people with mental illness often stay in jails and prisons longer and have a higher risk of reincarceration after release. Over NAMI’s forty-year history, we have advocated to divert people with mental illness away from the criminal justice system and to improve the quality of care while incarcerated. 

Read more about the Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Workgroup, and their policy recommendations to the 116thCongress and the Trump administration.