Policy Briefs

Our Policy Briefs summarize and translate existing research at the intersection of criminal justice & health into actionable policy prescriptions to aid evidence-based reform in critical areas affecting the health and well-being of criminal justice-involved individuals in California and nationwide. Over 20 such briefs are currently in development or in press.  Three examples, described below, were recently presented to the California State Senate Mental Health Caucus. 

Building on California SB11 and SB29: Strengthening Community Partnerships

Today, law enforcement professionals interact with more persons with mental illness than any other occupational group outside of the mental health field. California legislation SB 11 and SB 29 mandated an increase in behavioral health and mental health training for police officers.  This Policy Brief highlights the important next step in this process -- developing meaningful collaborations between law enforcement and community mental health stakeholders.  

Case Management Helps Prevent Criminal Justice Involvement For People With Serious Mental Illness

Too many people with serious mental illness (SMI) in California become involved in the criminal justice system, often resulting in incarceration.  When released, these individuals rarely receive adequate (if any) mental health treatment support, often leading to repeat arrest and incarceration. Providing case managers for people with SMI improves their quality of life and reduces their involvement in the criminal justice system with clear positive outcomes for public safety and public health in California. 

Integrating substance abuse treatment with mental health treatment in jail settings can improve mental health, drug use, and criminal justice outcomes

Research in correctional populations has established the disproportionate number of individuals with mental illness in jail settings. Untreated substance abuse disorders can interfere with adherence to mental health treatment regimens and increase the risk of recidivism in community. Thus, it is important to provide substance abuse treatment in addition to mental health treatment in jail settings to those who have a co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problem in order to adequately address the complex issues that often contribute to criminal re-offending in this population.