VIDEO: One Family's Story of Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System

Mental Illness 'Should Never be a Crime'

PBS News Hour: Brief But Spectacular

Jerri Clark, founder of Mothers of the Mentally Ill (MOMI), shares the emotional story of her family's circuitous journey through both the criminal justice and mental health systems in the state of Washington. As a result of their experience, Clark believes that mental illness should 'never be a crime'. Their story, and others like it, not only spurs the conversation around mental health and criminal justice, but also highlights the importance of continued research to inform policy and best practices.

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) partners with agencies across Michigan to address the needs of those with behavioral health concerns within the criminal justice system, by identifying, diverting, and treating individuals and decreasing the burden on jails, families and communities. Stakeholders often struggle to properly identify those with mental health needs and implement the appropriate system-wide response. The CBHJ uses evidence-based research to inform state and local-level policy and practice improvements, as well as, working with communities to facilitate cross-system collaboration. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 2 million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year. 



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