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. 


People living with untreated serious mental illness who have co-occurring substance use disorders are at a particularly high risk for involvement with the justice system. Services that can reduce this risk and keep people out of the justice system are similar to the services that can help reduce recidivism of someone is leaving jail or prison. Learn more...

Police and Jail Diversion

With our mental health system broken and Local partnerships between law enforcement, mental health providers and NAMI Affiliates help improve the way police respond to people in crisis. Learn more...


Specialized courts can help people with mental illness who have been charged with a crime get needed treatment and support in the community while under court supervision.  Learn more...

Jails and Prisons

With more than 20% of people in jails having a serious mental illness, jails and prisons need to address mental health issues.  Jails and prisons are improving conditions by reducing solitary confinement and training correctional officers, but there is more work to be done. Learn more... 

Reentry and Community Support

People living with mental illness leaving jail or prison need services and support to be successful. Learn more...