National Alliance on Mental Illness
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  1. Community CIT Initiatives
  2. CIT is International!
  3. Second Chance Act  of 2005 Introduced
  4. Juvenile Mental Health Courts Expand in California
  5. Oklahoma Emergency Summit on Mental Illness, Substance Abuse, and Criminal Justice  
  6. CIT Training in Shasta County, California
  7. Useful Links

1. Community CIT Initiatives

From East to West, CIT is being embraced by many communities. Rural and urban areas alike are committing to training officers about mental illness and applying their training in the field. The NAMI CIT Action Center has received numerous accounts from the field about the important work being done across the country. If you have upcoming events or would like to share information about your program, please contact Bonnie Sultan at

a. After attending the NAMI-Florida conference, Jerry and Jan Manesis of Lake Sumter, Florida, were inspired to advocate for the implementation of a CIT program in Lake-Sumter County. They particularly credit Officer Michelle Saunders from Lakeside Alternatives in Orlando, Larry Thompson of the Florida Mental Health Institute in Tampa, and Donald Turnbaugh of NAMI Pinellas County for encouraging the growth of new CIT programs.   The Lake-Sumter Sheriff’s office offered his training facility as well as support in recruiting other law enforcement agencies. A CIT Steering Committee has been formed with representatives ranging from local police to mental health professionals. Lifestream, a behavioral mental health care provider in the area, has partnered in this endeavor. The first CIT training course will be held on November 14-18, 2005.

b. February 2005 marked the beginning of the Clackamas County, Oregon CIT program. The formation of this CIT program is due to collaboration between NAMI Clackamas County, the local mental health agency, and probation offices, as well as six municipal law enforcement agencies. Sheriff Craig Roberts made CIT a priority due to the increasing number of persons with mental illnesses becoming involved in the criminal justice system. Nick Watt of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office estimates that 30 percent of current county jail inmates have a mental illness and one in four calls to law enforcement involves a mental health disturbance in the community. Sheriff Roberts has budgeted CIT training in order to have program in place by February 2006. The goal for this community is to have every officer and deputy in both patrol and corrections participate in the 40 hour CIT training.

c. In 2002, the St. Louis County Police Department of Missouri, NAMI St. Louis, and other mental health agencies collaborated to launch a 40 hour CIT training course. By 2003, more than 300 officers had received CIT training. A number of local police departments, including two college police departments, participate in CIT.  According to local statistics, one in twelve people the police encounter suffer from a severe mental illness that is often compounded with substance abuse. The holistic approach of CIT is beneficial in this area as it allows police to relate to offenders as people, not just ‘a call’. 

The St. Louis program is having a profound impact on more than just the police. The CIT program has been a catalyst in St. Louis for helping people get needed mental health treatment and services.  In July, NAMI St. Louis was awarded a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health which allocates nearly $1.1 million over the next three years. The grant is used to pay the salaries of full time staff, the creation of a family support specialist, and allows those without insurance to receive psychiatric care from the St. Louis University Department of Psychiatry. Another goal set out by this community is to partner with local pharmacies to provide needed medications (Kirk-Webster Journal, August 17, 2005). For more information, visit the NAMI St. Louis website:

d. Risdon N. Slate, PhD, of the NAMI Board of Directors reported in the Lakeland Florida Ledger that professionals from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office became CIT trained at The Criminal Justice Academy in Winter Haven Florida. Mr. Slate stated that, “this training was a collaborative, community effort, with representatives from Lakeland Regional Medical Center, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Peace River Center, Tri-County Human Services, and Winter Haven Hospital”. Sheriff Grady Judd is commended for taking the initiative for implementing CIT in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.  (The Ledger, October, 14, 2005, A12).

e. Congratulations to Wake County in Raleigh, North Carolina for graduating the first class of CIT officers in the state! We are confident that the success of this program will stimulate many other communities in North Carolina to create their own CIT programs.

2. CIT is International!

In Australia, like in the U.S., police are often the frontline responders to people with mental illness in crisis. Elizabeth Crowther, the Chief Executive of the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria, attended the NAMI convention in Austin Texas. She followed this up by visiting Memphis to see the CIT program in action. She states that one in five Australians are affected by mental illness, and their encounters with police can be fatal. Upon learning the success rate of safety and jail diversion in Memphis, Ms. Crowther has been campaigning for similar programs in Australia.  Mr. Doug Fryer, the acting inspector of Broadmeadows Police Station, Region 3, Victoria, began a partnership with the MI Fellowship, Victoria focusing on helping police better understand mental illness.  This pilot project consists of 600 police officers learning about mental illness and ways in which police may communicate and intervene in a crisis situation. By December 2005, 600 officers will be trained and a goal has been set to increase training so that 10,000 will participate in the CIT program in the future.

3. Second Chance Act of 2005 Introduced

"The Community Safety Through Recidivism Prevention or Second Chance Act" (S.1934 H.R.1704) was recently re-introduced to both the house and senate. This act would fund projects aimed at helping adult and juvenile offenders reenter the community. Funds would be allocated for the establishment of reentry courts as well as the facilitation of post-release employment and housing programs. The act calls for both state and local governments to establish Reentry Task Forces or other similar initiatives. Mr. Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former Director of National Institute of Justice, speaks of the importance of reentry programs as some 600,000 inmates were released from prison in 2004 alone. "Smart policies on prisoner reentry can improve health and mental health outcomes for thousands of returning prisoners by linking them to health care in the community. The Second Chance Act reflects welcome federal leadership in this neglected area of public health and public safety policy". For more information about the bill, please see

4.  Juvenile Mental Health Courts Expand in California

There are presently several juvenile mental health courts in existence in California including the counties of Los Angeles, Monterey, and Orange. California proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, calls for a one percent tax on taxable incomes of more than $1 million. This is expected to raise more than $800 million for mental health services in California. Now there is interest in using a portion of this funding to expand these courts. Dr. Tim Kelly, an associate professor of psychology and director of clinical training at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, has recommended that some of these funds should be used to form a juvenile mental health court in Pasadena, CA. This initiative is close to Dr. Kelly’s heart as he himself was diverted from the correctional system as a juvenile.  Mayor Bill Bogaard and Police Chief Bernard Melekian of Pasadena, along with a collaboration of mental health and law enforcement professionals, are working together to form the new court  Dr. Kelly believes that the court can act as a second chance, and that he is the living proof.  The State Department of Health has responded positively, and hopes are to have the court in session as soon as January of next year. (Pasadena Star-News, October 9, 2005). For more information on California mental health courts, please see, and search under “California

5.  Emergency Summit on Mental Illness, Substance Abuse, and Criminal Justice.

     November 10, 2005 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oklahoma City, OK

NAMI Oklahoma and other stakeholders are working together to organize this emergence summit. The purpose is to have different communities establish connections and discuss alternatives to the incarceration of people with mental illnesses, co-occurring disorders, and substance abuse.  National experts and Oklahoma leaders will present the audience with current practices and polices aimed to promote reintegration and jail diversion.For more information, please visit

Or email the following address:         

6.  CIT Training in Shasta County, Redding California November 14-17, 2005

The 13th CIT training session in Shasta County of Redding, California will be held November 14-17, 2005. Shasta county holds CIT trainings biannually. Congratulations to Shasta County for their hard work and positive impact in the community! For more information on this training, please contact Marjorie Hall at 530.221.3136 or Diana Clayton at 530.222.6070.

7. Useful Links

A repository of information about all aspects of jail diversion, reentry, and enhanced treatment for offenders with mental illness.

Bipartisan recommendations for successful prisoner reentry practices. This comprehensive report is beneficial as it recommends reentry strategies that reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

Focused  on expanding access to community based services for adult's diagnosed with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders at all points of contact with the justice system.