More than 15 million individuals pass through the U.S. criminal justice system each year. Approximately 20% of these individuals are experiencing mental health or substance use disorders that may or may not be identified and treated. Every intercept of the criminal justice continuum from prevention, to arrest, court, jail or prison, community re-entry, and probation or parole offers:

  • OPPORTUNITY for improved identification of mental health and substance use disorders, and
  • POTENTIAL to divert individuals from the criminal justice system to appropriate treatment.    

However, the criminal justice, behavioral health, and other related systems are complex. Communities and organizations often lack the data infrastructure and expertise required to coordinate local systems, assess programs, identify evidence-based practices, and implement data-driven decision-making.  

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice provides local communities, organizations, and behavioral health and law enforcement agencies across Michigan with EXPERTISE, EVALUATION, SUPPORT, TRAINING, and TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE to optimize diversion of individuals from jail and prison through the implementation of best and innovative practices at every intercept of the criminal justice continuum.

We envision communities in which research, data, and best practices are used by multiple partners to enhance the optimal well-being of individuals with mental illness and/or substance use disorders who come in contact with the criminal/legal system.