SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, operated by Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA), is continuing to provide direct training and technical assistance to jurisdictions across the nation to better support people with behavioral health needs who are involved in the criminal justice system. The GAINS Center is currently soliciting applications from jurisdictions interested in collaborating with subject-matter experts through Criminal Justice Learning Collaboratives (LCs) designed to explore four topics:

  • Trauma-Informed Treatment Courts
  • Peer Integration in Treatment Courts
  • Data-Driven Strategies for Reducing Frequent Systems Engagement
  • Addressing the Housing Needs of People with Behavioral Health Conditions Who Are Justice-Involved

For updates on future opportunities, join the GAINS Center mailing list.

About the Criminal Justice LCs

The LC model brings together local jurisdiction teams to create coordinated local strategic plans and implementation strategies for the topic of focus. Selected teams for each LC will work intensively to determine optimal ways to implement best practices and define success indicators. Each topic-specific LC will engage subject-matter experts to work with jurisdiction teams during the implementation process and to facilitate peer-to-peer sharing. Through a virtual platform, selected teams will work together to learn and complete their implementation work while, at the same time, have the opportunity to share with other jurisdictions and receive an array of technical assistance from subject-matter experts across the country.

NOTE: All 2023 LC events are planned to be delivered virtually.

The LCs are designed to achieve four key objectives:

  1. Enhance collective knowledge of key issues and familiarity with the topic.
  2. Understand promising and evidence-based practices to address related issues.
  3. Develop strategic plans that focus on addressing the issue, with a focus on the implementation of policies, procedures, and best practices to improve treatment, services, and supports.
  4. Increase knowledge about challenges and lessons learned in implementing strategies through peer-to-peer sharing.

Application and Selection Process

  • Applications for these solicitations are due January 25, 2023
  • General requirements:
    • Narrative (up to five pages)
    • Expectations/guidelines will differ by LC topic
    • List of key stakeholders who will participate in the team
    • Letters of support or commitment from key partners
  • Selected jurisdictions will be notified the week of February 6, 2023

Tracey Ginn, MS, LCMHC, CPM, Interim Assistant Director for Hospitals, Division of State-Operated Healthcare Facilities, Psychiatric Hospital Team, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services: Competence to Stand Trial/Competency Restoration LC


“The knowledge shared across sessions was incredible. There were a few presenters that I feel like I could listen to for hours on end and continue to learn from their expertise and experience. We received great feedback and guidance from all the technical assistance providers, and their ability to connect us or refer us to even more experts or examples to help us with our needs was a huge gain for us. One of the most helpful parts of the LC was the ability to schedule follow-up one-on-one sessions with some of the experts and really address our site-specific questions/issues.”

FY2023 LCs

Trauma-Informed Treatment Courts

The primary goal of the Trauma-Informed Treatment Courts LC is for teams to develop strategic plans to advance policies and practices on trauma-informed treatment court programs. Through this LC, participating treatment court teams will work locally and collaboratively to examine their court-specific policies and practices and identify policies and practices that need to be revised to be trauma-informed.

Peer Integration in Treatment Courts

The primary goal of the Peer Integration in Treatment Courts LC is for teams to develop strategic plans to advance policies and practices on integrating peer staff into treatment court teams. Through this LC, participating treatment court teams will work locally and collaboratively to examine their court-specific policies and practices and identify policies and practices that need to be revised to fully support the integration of peers into treatment court teams.

Data-Driven Strategies for Reducing Frequent Systems Engagement

The primary goal of the Data-Driven Strategies for Reducing Frequent Systems Engagement LC is for teams to develop strategic plans to improve local systems structures and collaboration to better support individuals frequently using emergency or crisis-level services. Through this LC, participating jurisdictions will work collaboratively to identify systems-level strategies to improve the way that people with high levels of behavioral health needs are supported, thus reducing reliance on emergency and crisis-level behavioral health and criminal justice services.

Addressing the Housing Needs of People with Behavioral Health Conditions Who Are Justice-Involved

The primary goal of the Addressing the Housing Needs of People with Behavioral Health Conditions Who Are Justice-Involved LC is for selected teams to develop strategic plans to enhance local systems structures and collaboration to improve access to the critical housing services necessary to support people in recovery in the community. Through this LC, participating jurisdictions will work collaboratively to identify systems-level strategies to improve access to housing resources for people with high levels of behavioral health needs, with the goal of supporting and maintaining people in the community and, ultimately, reducing recidivism.

Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more about this opportunity and to gain insight into preparing a strong LC application, please download the Frequently Asked Questions document.

FY2022 LC Testimonials

The following are some first-hand accounts from participants in these LCs:

Jacob Tebes, PhD, Director Elm City COMPASS, New Haven, Connecticut: Integrating Civilian-Led, Co-response, and Specialized Police Response Models LC

New Haven, Connecticut, is implementing COMPASS—Compassionate Allies Serving our Streets—a community-based initiative to create a system of sustainable supports for individuals in New Haven experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.

“Our jurisdiction participated in all general Learning Collaborative technical assistance sessions, as well as five additional technical assistance sessions tailored to our jurisdiction’s needs. COMPASS stakeholders found both general sessions and those provided to our system very helpful. We learned about other programs nationally that are implementing crisis response programs, obtained information on best practices, received validation for aspects of our initiative, and gained access to resources and networks that we can draw on to launch and improve COMPASS.”

Mariliz Loftus, Coordinator, Lackawanna County Treatment Court, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Transition Reentry Strategies LC

“An LC is definitely an amazing learning experience! Everyone on our team learned a lot. The beginning sessions were most useful [to us]. It was great to get all of our team together that work in different areas of expertise and have them attend the trainings. The most helpful part was having [SME] Julia Orlando available to answer all of our questions, come to speak at a Housing Coalition meeting and a Reentry meeting, and finally being available for us to go and tour her facility.”