National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Why does it matter?

More than half of all jail and prison inmates have a recent history or symptoms of a mental health problem. An estimated 31 percent of women and 14.5 percent of men in jails have a serious mental illness. Seventy percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have a mental health condition. Most people leave the system worse off and with fewer options for getting needed treatment and services. Learn more

Most people with mental illness involved in the justice system are not violent criminals. NAMI works to reduce criminalization of people with mental illness by promoting local programs that divert people from the justice system and into treatment, and by advocating with state and federal policy makers to improve access to treatment and services that can prevent involvement with the justice system. We also work to counteract the often horrific conditions faced by people with mental illnesses in jails and prisons.We are honored to partner with mental health provider agencies, corrections systems, law enforcement, courts and other leaders who understand that people need treatment, not jail.


Help for Veterans Involved in the Justice System

Too many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing mental health and substance abuse issues. Many wind up in the criminal justice system instead of getting the help they need.More...


Helping Families in the Juvenile Justice System: The Arlington CSB Court Liaison

Too many youth wind up in the juvenile justice system for the sole purpose of accessing mental health services and supports. A new program in Arlington, Va. is helping these youth and their families earlier. More…

In Virginia, Crisis Centers Strengthen CIT

Is the future of CIT crisis assessment centers which provide easy access to services for individuals, families and CIT officers? Leaders in Virginia think so.


More News>>

NAMI Perspectives on the Justice System

Learn about the perspectives of individuals involved in the justice system, their family members and the criminal justice professionals that partner with NAMI.

What I’ve Learned from CIT

Police are people, too; CIT is not a training program; there’s a reason we call NAMI members “advocates,” and other reflections from NAMI’s CIT program manager. More...

Working with Your Probation or Parole Officer

People living with mental illness can struggle with the conditions of probation and parole. Fortunately, specialized probation officers like Eilene Flory can help individuals succeed. More...

NAMI Utah's Advocacy in Mental Health Courts

Jackie Rendo works for NAMI Utah, but as the liaison to three mental health courts, she spends many of her days out of the office and in court. More...

More NAMI Perspectives on the Justice System>>

Navigating the Justice System:

If you or a loved one has been arrested, NAMI can help you find a lawyer. Check out our resources for families navigating the justice system!

Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT):

Learn more about how NAMI works with law enforcement and mental health providers to improve crisis response.


To find out NAMI's position on the issues, check out our Public Policy Platform (sections 9 and 10).