November 28, 2023

Ask the Expert April Header

Thursday, December 14, 2023, 4:00pm – 5:30pm ET

Pretrial detention is a high-risk time for people with mental illness. Over half of the people in U.S. jails are detained pretrial; they not been convicted of any crime, are awaiting further court proceedings, and are presumed innocent. The suicide rate of pretrial detainees is three times higher than the jail population who have been convicted and ten times higher than the general population. Using the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) as a guide, many communities have invested in developing crisis care systems that divert people in a mental health crisis away from jails and into community-based care. Join us to learn more about how SIM reflects pathways to community-based behavioral health treatment both as a diversion from law enforcement interaction and as a post-release community reentry strategy.




Our Experts


Yolanda HeadshotYolanda L. Lewis, Executive Vice President, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Meadows Mental Health Policy InstituteYolanda is the Executive Vice President and Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Health at the Meadows Institute. Prior to that, she served as the Senior Director, Safety and Justice with The Pew Charitable Trusts, where she oversaw Pew’s work to improve justice-related efficiencies at the state and local levels of government, including oversight for public safety performance, mental health, and civil legal system modernization. Before joining Pew, Yolanda served as district court administrator for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit, where she managed the courts in Fulton County, Georgia, designing initiatives to improve public safety, including a focus on judicial administration, criminal and civil case management, mental health, and justice reinvestment. Yolanda has served as a faculty member for Michigan State University’s Judicial Administration program, vice president of the National Association for Court Management, founding member of the Fulton County Smart Justice Advisory Council, and president of the Georgia Council of Court Administrators. She also has experience as an executive producer, host, and commentator for several TV shows covering justice-related issues. A certified court manager, Lewis is an appointee to the Racial Equity Advisory Board for the District Court of Columbia and a board member of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System in addition to a host of other local and national affiliations.

Yolanda holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and a master’s in public administration from the University of South Alabama.  She is a graduate of the executive leadership program at Yale University.


NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).