National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Community Programs

Local leaders in many communities around the country are working to keep people with mental illnesses out jails and prisons. While state and federal policies can support these efforts, most lasting change happens at the local level. Strong partnerships are the key to success.  NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates are key partners and work closely with police chiefs, sheriffs, judges and other criminal justice leaders as well as with mental health system leaders. 

Learn about other local programs making a difference in the criminal justice system:
Prevention - Police and Jail Diversion - Courts - Jails and Prisons - Reentry and Community Support

Police and Jail Diversion

  • Crisis intervention teams (CIT) are local initiatives that bring together law enforcement, mental health providers and mental health advocates to improve the way that police respond in a mental health crisis. CIT programs are built on strong partnerships and include training for law enforcement, joint planning and coordination. Find CIT programs near you.
  • CIT for Youth is an innovation based on the CIT model that specifically addresses the needs of children and youth, and involves partnerships between schools, children’s mental health providers, school-based police officers (SROs) and NAMI Affiliates.
  • Multisystem therapy is an intensive family- and community-based treatment program that focuses on addressing all environmental systems that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders.
  • Functional family therapy is a short term, strengths-based treatment for at-risk youth.

Local examples:

Additional Resources: