CIT in Action #9

1.   NAMI Indiana Hosts 3rd Annual Criminal Justice Summit!

2.   Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Speaks at 1st Annual CIT Banquet in Georgia

3.  N.Y. Assembly Passes Bill to Eliminate Solitary Confinement of Inmates with Mental Illness

4.   U.S. Department of Justice Releases Report on Psychiatric Disorders of Youth in Detention

5.  Attitudes of US Voters toward Prisoner Reentry Rehabilitation and Reentry Policies

6.   Mental Illness Behind Bars Receives National Attention

7.   Useful Links

1. NAMI Indiana Hosts 3rd Annual Criminal Justice Summit!

This year’s NAMI Indiana Criminal Justice summit on May 19, 2006 displayed multiple community collaborations making this event a huge success. With presentations from NAMI’s In Our Own Voice (IOOV) program and Kellie Meyer of NAMI Indiana, the audience learned how the consumer perspective contributes to specialized police trainings concerning mental illness . The summit continued by spotlighting four CIT programs from Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, and Richmond Indiana. Each CIT program had police, mental health , family and consumer membership- exemplifying the need for community collaborations and partnerships. The audience was given the opportunity to learn about how to begin the CIT process, collect program data, improve existing programs, as well as learn about post incarceration diversion. The summit concluded with the Department of Correction Commissioner Mr. J. David Donahue discussing mental health needs inside prison walls and upon reentry. For more information on this summit or the discussed program please contact Ms. Kellie Meyer at

2. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Speaks at 1st Annual CIT Banquet in  Georgia

The first annual Georgia CIT Banquet was held on February 13, 2006. The banquet, held at the Carter Center in Atlanta was co-sponsored by the Georgia CIT, NAMI Georgia and the Carter Center. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter applauded CIT and NAMI. “I have known about the CIT program for a long time, reading about it with great admiration,” said Mrs. Carter. About NAMI she said, “It has become one of the most influential mental health organizations in the country.” The event was attended by more than 130 people. Awards were handed out in eight categories by Mrs. Carter, Major Sam Cochran of the Memphis Police Department, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan. NAMI Georgia President and CIT Advisory Board member Nora Lott-Haynes served as Mistress of Ceremonies. To date, 500 officers have completed CIT training in Georgia. To learn more about this event and CIT in Georgia, please visit:

3. N.Y. Assembly Passes Bill to Eliminate Solitary Confinement of Inmates with Mental Illness

The New York State Assembly passed legislation last month to eliminate solitary confinement practices for inmates with psychiatric disabilities. Advocates are now awaiting Senate action on an identical bill. Advocates supporting the end of solitary confinement for persons with mental illness are looking at legislation, S.2207, which is currently in the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee. The passing of this bill in the assembly is due to the tremendous efforts of advocates calling for the end of prisoners with mental illness being held in solitary within New York State prison special housing units (SHUs). The enactment of this legislation ensures the ending of placing prisoners with mental illness in solitary as well as sufficient beds and mental health professionals on staff. The bill will also call for 40 hours of training for correctional staff working in residential mental health treatment programs as well as eight hours of annual training for all correctional staff. The New York State Corrections Union supports this bill as it provides for an increase in training on how to handle persons with mental illness in prison. Harvey Rosenthal, executive director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services told Mental Health Weekly, “We think this legislation is a win-win for corrections officers and prisoners with severe psychiatric disabilities. It can significantly improve prisoners’ safety, cut down on the amount of distress and the amount of need for solitary confinement for this particular population.”

“N.Y. Assembly Passes Bill to Eliminate Solitary Confinement of Inmates with Mental Illness.” Mental Health Weekly (16)15. April 10, 2006.  p. 5-6.

4.  U.S. Department of Justice Releases Report on Psychiatric Disorders of Youth in Detention

The authors of this new study report, “The juvenile justice system faces a significant challenge in identifying and responding to psychiatric disorders of detained youth” (1). More than 104,000 youth offenders were detained in placement programs in 2001. However, the true prevalence of mental illness among this population is unknown. In order to best serve the detained youth and the community, the authors call for increased mental health resources. These services can assist in treating the youth offender while helping to lower recidivism rates. Current data on the prevalence of mental illness among juvenile offenders varies greatly. In an effort to produce new data, the authors focused on The Northwestern Juvenile Project. The authors measured the rate of substance abuse and addiction and mental disorders among juveniles detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Illinois. The study examines the occurrence of these disorders by race and ethnicity, age, and gender. Findings show nearly two- thirds of all male and three- quarters of all females met the diagnostic criteria for one or more psychiatric disorder. Many juveniles had two or more disorders. Therefore, “as many as 72,000 detained youth have at least one psychiatric disorder; 47,000 detained youth have two or more types of psychiatric disorders; and more than 12,000 detained youth have both a major mental disorder and a substance use disorder” (9). This study shows the great need for mental health care services inside of detention centers and the need for pre and post-booking diversion programs for persons with mental illness that encounter the criminal justice system.

To access this article please visit:

5. Attitudes of US Voters toward Prisoner Reentry Rehabilitation and Reentry  Policies

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency conducted a public opinion poll about American attitudes toward prisoner reentry and rehabilitation. Participants were shown to believe that our current correctional system does not solve the problem of crime and that rehabilitative services need to be put in place in order to lower recidivism rates. By an 8 to 1 margin, US voters are in favor of rehabilitation services for prisoners instead of a punishment only system. 70% favored services both during and after incarceration. Of those polled, 44% felt reentry planning should begin at sentencing, and 27% thought it should begin one year before release. 48% of participants believed that access to medical care was necessary for returning prisoners. “When asked about legislation that would allocate funds toward prisoner reentry (The Second Chance Act), 78% were in support. Of those, almost half expressed strong support.” The survey shows strong support among US voters to increase funding and policy initiatives for prisoner reentry and rehabilitation.

To access this article please visit:

6.  Mental Illness Behind Bars Receives National Attention

This month The Wall Street Journal reported on the increasing prisoner population with mental illness. This May 3rd article spotlighted the Oklahoma Correctional System, as in recent years the state has experienced a significant increase in prisoners with mental illness. Showing the ramifications of not having sufficient mental health services in the community, the article describes the devastating incarceration rates for people with mental illness. “Many states, responding to budget pressures and changing ideas about how to treat mental disorders, closed their residential mental institutions. Oklahoma was one of the last… In recent years, Oklahoma has had a dramatic increase in mentally ill prisoners, in part because it recently shut state-run mental-health facilities. According to the state, the number of inmates on psychiatric medications more than tripled between 1998 and 2005 to 4,017. The system’s budget for such medication climbed even faster, growing from $154,000 a year to more than $2 million, in part because of the growing number of medications available. By comparison, the overall prison population rose 14% to 23,205. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates there are 300,000 people suffering from mental illness in state and federal prisons, compared with 70,000 in state psychiatric facilities.” Stakeholders see these staggering statistics as a need for advocacy and policy reform. United States Senator Mike DeWine from Ohio was interviewed for this article. Mr. DeWine states, “Our jails and prisons are our largest mental-health facilities now.” Mr. DeWine has co-authored bills to create federal programs to end the criminalization of mental illness and improve services for inmates with mental illness.

To access these article please visit:

7. Useful Links

The 2nd Annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) National Conference:

Learn more about this upcoming conference! Taking place in Orlando Florida in September, 2006- This national conference is designed to highlight effective community collaborations that are responding to the needs of those with mental illnesses including co-occurring substance use disorders.For location, registration, and panel submission information please visit the above website.

The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Information Network:
A powerful new database to help you improve your understanding of criminal justice/mental health collaborations. A useful tool for criminal justice/mental health professionals, policymakers, family members, consumers, and researchers. A platform for peer-peer networking.

The Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (CJ/CCoE): 
Established in May 2001 to promote jail diversion alternatives for people with mental illness throughout Ohio.

The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project: 
A repository of information about all aspects of jail diversion, reentry, and enhanced treatment for offenders with mental illness.

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance: 

Administers federal mental health courts program, provides resources and information for jail diversion, publications and reports, information about federal funding sources.

The National Gains Center: 

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.

Police Executive Research Forum (PERF): 
Information about criminal justice and mental health, community policing and other relevant information).

The Reentry Policy Council 

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

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 

Administers federal jail diversion grant program, resource information, publications, and other helpful information about criminal justice and mental health.

Connecticut Crisis Intervention Teams 

An excellent resource for Connecticut residents and nonresidents alike. The site offers training information, posts, and articles with information concerning the implementation and sustainability of CIT.

Your Feedback and Information is Needed!

We are also eager to hear from you about news or stories we can include for future issues of CIT in Action. Send your comments or ideas to Bonnie Sultan,

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