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The Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) provides a framework for identifying decision points and opportunities to divert individuals with behavioral health conditions out of the criminal justice system and into community-based treatment and supports.[1],[2] For some defendants, the trial process is put on hold if they exhibit signs or symptoms of conditions that can impair their… Read More


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Q: From your perspective as Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice, how are judges, court staff, and attorneys specially positioned to support people with opioid use disorders who come in contact with the court system? That’s the fundamental question: What is our role? Let’s take a step back. This isn’t our first drug epidemic. In the… Read More


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The GAINS Center’s Learning Collaboratives Recap Series SAMHSA’s GAINS Center’s Family Treatment Court Learning Collaborative was an initiative designed to improve practice within existing Family Treatment Court programs through building collaborative cross-system strategies, institutionalizing best practices, and bringing the programs to scale. Special attention was given to the development of a family-centered approach within these… Read More


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The GAINS Center’s Learning Collaboratives Recap Series States across the country are experiencing increased demand for competency evaluations, but competency evaluation and restoration programs frequently have too few beds to meet the needs of those found incompetent to stand trial (IST). This leaves many clients and cases in limbo until space becomes available. SAMHSA’s GAINS… Read More


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By Marissa Fariña-Morse, Ed.S., N.C.C., C.A.A.D.C., L.P.C., Service Director, Diversion First, Fairfax/Falls Church Community Services Board The Fairfax/Falls Church Community Services Board has a strong partnership with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office and is fortunate to be providing behavioral health services inside the Fairfax Adult Detention Center (ADC). Providers working in the ADC realized that… Read More


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Judith Griffin, M.D., Director of Research, The REACH Project, Inc. The overdose crisis continues across the United States, with over 70,000 individuals losing their lives in 2017. Widespread action is needed to prevent the perpetuation of this crisis, and the approach of REACH Medical (REACH), an innovative practice serving the Southern Tier of New York… Read More


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SAMHSA’s GAINS Center is soliciting applications from communities interested in Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) Workshops. SIM Workshops are designed to bring together a local, cross-system, multidisciplinary group of key stakeholders from a particular jurisdiction to facilitate collaboration and to identify and discuss ways in which barriers between the criminal justice and behavioral systems can be… Read More


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SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, operated by Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA), known nationally for its work regarding people with behavioral health needs involved in the criminal justice system, is soliciting applications from communities interested in developing a capacity to provide trauma-informed training. The GAINS Center is offering a series of… Read More


PRA Receives Silver-Level Recognition in AHA’s 2019 Workplace Health Achievement Index

For the fourth year in a row, Policy Research Associates, Inc. has been recognized by the American Heart Association (AHA) in its annual Workplace Health Achievement Index. By continuing to innovate in its approach to supporting health and wellness in the office, PRA has achieved its second silver-level recognition in a row! PRA encourages healthy… Read More


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By Kathy Morse | @kathymorse0914 On April 1st of this year, as the White House officially announced the month of April as #SecondChanceMonth, I was quietly celebrating my fifth year back at home. Five years home, 2 years since I received early release from parole, I still carry the baggage of the collateral consequences of… Read More


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SAMHSA’s GAINS Center is wrapping up this year’s Data-Driven Equity & Inclusion Learning Collaborative, an initiative designed to help communities create and implement strategies to address racial disparities in their local criminal justice and behavioral health systems. The collaborative aimed to support jurisdictions in closing the gap between identifying disparities and working to reduce them.… Read More


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By Karrey Britt, Communications Specialist, Douglas County Douglas County, Kansas, has reduced the number of people with serious mental illness (SMI) who are booked in the Douglas County Correctional Facility (DCCF) by 56 percent in 4 years. In 2014, 18 percent of those in the jail were identified as having SMI; by 2018, the percentage… Read More


It's a Good Time to Donate

Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) is proud to announce that it is partnering again with Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) in this year’s Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s Adopt-A-Program. PRA’s donation match will support IPH’s efforts in serving individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the Capital Region. PRA… Read More


It’s hard to talk about what you can’t see. We use imagery to convey import, highlight concepts, and simplify complex subjects. Depicting suicide prevention concepts can be challenging without raising ideas that can be discouraging at best, or triggering at worst. At its heart, suicide prevention is hopeful work rooted in the strengths of individuals… Read More


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Soros Justice Fellow, Open Society Foundation 1. You have recounted that as a young person prior to becoming incarcerated, you had experienced war, family displacement, social isolation, and bullying at school. Recognizing that many people who experience incarceration have histories of trauma, what do you recommend can be done to better support communities where there… Read More


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By Jennifer K. Johnson, JD, Principal, J.K. Johnson Advisors, LLC Over the last three decades, our criminal justice system has witnessed an unprecedented shift in the approach to criminal defendants with unmet behavioral health needs. With the emergence of therapeutic jurisprudence and a focus on procedural justice, treatment courts have proliferated across the country. These… Read More


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By Jeremy Reed, SMI Administrator, Community Bridges, Inc. Having people in recovery playing the role of a peer to clients is a vital part of any mental health system. Amid all the clinical interventions usually considered, this peer component can sometimes be overlooked, but I have been working with forensic assertive community treatment (FACT) and… Read More


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Many communities across the United States wrestle with the challenge of providing services to individuals who are justice involved and experiencing serious mental illness (SMI) or co-occurring disorders. Forensic assertive community treatment (FACT) teams are one service option for providing a level of care that can stabilize an individual, reduce further justice involvement, and lessen… Read More


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By Kevin L. Nadal, Ph.D., City University of New York Every June, people across the United States and in many parts of the world recognize Pride Month—a month devoted to celebrating the history and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. In 2019, Pride Month is especially remarkable, as it marks the… Read More


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By Jennifer K. Johnson, JD, Principal, J.K. Johnson Advisors, LLC. “To be a good lawyer, one has to be a healthy lawyer. Sadly, our profession is falling short when it comes to well-being.” National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, 2017[1] According to the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, the legal profession is at a… Read More


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The third, and largest cohort of student researchers in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Analyzing the Relationship between Disability, Rehabilitation, and Work (ARDRAW) Small Grant Program has been selected. SSA’s ARDRAW Small Grant Program is a 1-year $10,000 stipend program awarded to graduate-level students to conduct supervised independent research designed to foster new analysis of… Read More


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Health Service Psychologist, Certified Group Psychotherapist | Operations Director, Behavioral Health Services, Mercy Health Q: You have received recognition for the collaborative approach you have taken in leading a regional response to the opioid epidemic in Cincinnati. What are some of the key components of this approach, and can you share any information about its… Read More


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The National Association of Drug Court Professionals’ (NADCP) RISE19 Conference will be held in National Harbor, Maryland, July 14 to 17, 2019. SAMHSA’s GAINS Center is organizing 5 panels and a 3-hour pre-conference workshop session for RISE19. The pre-conference workshop will explore trauma-informed responses among judges and other court professionals. The panel sessions will explore… Read More


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Leah Pope, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Vera Institute of Justice David Shern, PhD, Senior Public Health Advisor, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors This article is part of a three-part series on how the criminal justice system can play a role in shortening the duration of untreated psychosis for people with mental illness… Read More


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Q: You bring to the table the perspectives of being a lawyer and someone who has experienced incarceration, homelessness, and substance use. How do you leverage these experiences in your mental health and criminal justice policy work? Henry Ford once said, “Experience is the thing of supreme value.” This remark has been a guiding principle… Read More


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Victor Ray Armstrong, MSW, Vice President-Behavioral Health, Behavioral Health Charlotte, Atrium Health, Charlotte, North Carolina One of the remaining taboos in many communities of color is the stigma around mental illness. Whether it’s depression or anxiety (or, the worst-case scenario, suicide), there is a longstanding belief in these communities that such concerns are taboo, and… Read More


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Julie McLafferty, MA  | Project Assistant, Policy Research Associates, Inc. Whether working inside a correctional facility or coordinating a transition for an individual on release, understanding the basics around benefits is the first step to ensuring continuity of care for individuals with a serious mental illness or medical impairment. Intentional discharge planning from incarceration back… Read More


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Leah Pope, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Vera Institute of Justice David Shern, Ph.D., Senior Public Health Advisor, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors This article is part of a three-part series on how the criminal justice system can play a role in shortening the duration of untreated psychosis for people with mental illness… Read More


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Professor of Psychology | John Jay College of Criminal Justice – City University of New York | The Graduate Center – City University of New York | www.kevinnadal.com Q: A lot of your work focuses on the mental health of individuals from marginalized groups, including people of color and LGBTQ people. What is a key finding… Read More


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SAMHSA’s GAINS Center is pleased to announce the awardees of the five 2019 Criminal Justice Learning Collaboratives! Each Learning Collaborative will bring together six local teams for an intensive learning, strategic planning, and implementation process to address local issues and needs within a given topic area. SAMHSA’s Eight Guiding Principles for Behavioral Health and Criminal… Read More


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Matthew W. Epperson, PhD, MSW; Associate Professor, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration; Director, Smart Decarceration Project (hyperlink: www.smartdecarceration.org); Twitter: @sdpUChicago Probation serves the largest segment of the criminal justice-involved population. Despite diversion  efforts that target early criminal justice (CJ) intercept points—aiming to direct people to appropriate mental health services instead of justice… Read More


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Forward Justice describes itself as a “law, policy, and strategy center dedicated to advancing racial, social, and economic justice.” Forward Justice has garnered a remarkable amount of support at the grassroots level, with dedicated individuals mobilizing together to form a coalition for social change. To what extent is shifting the narrative around incarceration essential to… Read More


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Leah Pope, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Vera Institute of Justice David Shern, PhD, Senior Public Health Advisor, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors This article is part of a three-part series on how the criminal justice system can play a role in shortening the duration of untreated psychosis for people with mental illness who… Read More


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2nd Vice President, CIT International Board of Directors 1. You serve in both a leadership role and as an instructor assisting jurisdictions in developing crisis intervention team programming and providing crisis de-escalation training for law enforcement officers. What advice can you offer to communities taking the first steps in strengthening the local behavioral health crisis… Read More


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By Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar for Public Policy, Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law; Adjunct Professor, Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; and Professor Emeritus of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health In a 2017 analysis of data from the National Inmate Survey—a… Read More


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Associate Professor, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, Director of the Smart Decarceration Project A number of your current research projects focus on the development of community social capacity in addressing place-based risk factors for criminal justice involvement. What are common social capital needs that drive behavioral health and justice involvement issues in… Read More


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SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, operated by Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA), is known nationally for its work regarding people with behavioral health needs involved in the criminal justice system. Each year, the GAINS Center provides its trauma-informed responses training, How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses, to the field… Read More


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Question: As a former prosecutor, a current judge, and president of Families Against Narcotics (FAN), you have several vantage points on working with individuals, families, and communities impacted by substance use disorders. What are one or two key insights gained through these multiple lenses that you believe are important for your colleagues in behavioral health,… Read More


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Sid Gardner, President of Children and Family Futures An evolution is underway in adult drug courts (ADCs) that are moving toward serving children and families affected by their relatives’ substance use disorders. Many drug court clients have children. When a parent experiences physical, mental, or other disabilities, their family is impacted. Nationwide, approximately 8.7 million… Read More


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Michelle N. Cleary, M.A., Senior Project Associate and Philip Paty, Project Assistant, SAMHSA’s Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Technical Assistance Center, Policy Research Associates During the month of November, we celebrate Veterans Day (11/11) and the Marine Corps birthday (11/10). We also recognize it as the Month of the Military Family. This spotlight on… Read More


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Christina Love is Training Project Specialist with the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault My name is Christina Love. I am Alutiiq/Sugpiaq (Aleut) and a trauma survivor who has experienced co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. I currently work as a specialist on intersectionality for Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault,… Read More


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Question 1 In your response to the obituary of Maddie Linsenmeir, you list 12 strategies that communities can use to lower the number of fatal overdoses and addiction-related deaths. Many of the strategies you mention relate to public health/medicine. Question 1a What do you envision as the ideal relationship between law enforcement and public health… Read More


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By Melissa Reuland Information sharing across behavioral health and criminal justice systems is critical to reducing the number of people with mental and substance use disorders in jails. At the point of service, the availability of information related to the person’s treatment history and condition can enhance safety, improve the individual’s health, and support recovery… Read More


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Tell us about your work with Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD). What does a typical week look like? Who are the people and organizations you work with regularly? My work at LEAD consists of overseeing all activities related to the National Support Bureau’s effort to support replication nationally through technical assistance and advice. We do… Read More


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Why Disparity Impact Statements Matter Across behavioral health and criminal justice systems, there are well documented disparities in services for and poorer outcomes among groups of different cultures or ethnic backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations.  To address these problems, it is important that agencies and institutions clearly understand the groups they serve and develop strategies… Read More


Lettuce - Adopt a Program

Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) is proud to announce that it is partnering again with Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) in this year’s Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s Adopt-A-Program. PRA’s donation match will support IPH’s efforts in serving individuals and families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness in the Capital Region. PRA will… Read More


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By Kevin Cleare, Peer Support Implementation Coordinator at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene I came home from prison in 2007 with the assistance of a peer organization that developed a relationship with me while I was incarcerated. The organization, called Hands Across Long Island (HALI), employs peers with lived experience… Read More


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In April 2018, SAMHSA’s GAINS Center convened a Best Practices Implementation Academy for local behavioral health, law enforcement, and criminal justice teams focused on reducing justice involvement among people with mental and substance use disorders. One plenary of the conference focused on considering racial and ethnic disparities in local strategic planning efforts. James Bell, founder… Read More


In January 2018, as part of the response to recent legislation in Mississippi, House Bill 585, which mandates that the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) provide benefits assistance to individuals preparing to be released from incarceration, MDOC applied for and received the SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance grant offered to criminal justice agencies.  On May 31,… Read More


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By Ayorkor Gaba, David Smelson, Debra A. Pinals, Kelsey Clary, & Idella Sanders-Jones Joe* smiles ear to ear as he receives his graduation certificate from his treatment court team, which includes his MISSION Peer Support Specialist and Case Manager. He humbly explains to the group in attendance that this was his first time graduating anything… Read More


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By Josh Cantwell, LCSW, PRSS, Clinical Director of Special Programs, Grand Lake Mental Health Center, Inc. In 2015, over 1,100 of the people served at Grand Lake Mental Health Center (GLMHC) were admitted to the hospital for psychiatric services. Many of these episodes involved a law enforcement officer waiting in the emergency room (ER) instead… Read More


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By Douglas B. Marlowe, JD, PhD, National Association of Drug Court Professionals No program or intervention can be expected to work for everyone. Providing too much or the wrong kind of services not only fails to improve outcomes, but it can make outcomes worse by placing excessive burdens on some participants and interfering with their… Read More


Woman in a coffee shop reading newspaper

Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) is proud to announce the publication of a new article from our Criminal Justice Program Area written by Senior Research Associate, Dr. Lisa Callahan and Program Area Director, Mr. Chanson Noether. The article, “Brief Jail Mental Health Screen Utilization in U.S. Jails,” was recently published in Journal of Forensic Medicine… Read More


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 About Mecklenburg County’s Criminal Justice Services SOAR Initiative  By Dazara Ware, MPC, SAMHSA SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery Technical Assistance Center Getting Started with SOAR In 2017, Mecklenburg County Criminal Justice Services (CJS) in North Carolina was awarded technical assistance through the SAMHSA SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance Center. SOAR is a… Read More


CIT Model Program Selected Sites

Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) has selected four sites to participate in the Crisis Intervention Training Model Project. Selection was made after a competitive application process managed by PRA. The Crisis Intervention Training Model project is part of a larger program within the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers and Ensuring… Read More


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This article is part of a GAINS Center series on promoting race equity in behavioral health and justice outcomes. Read Part 4 here. By Alice Chasan In Oregon, as elsewhere in the country, the disproportionate involvement of people of color in the criminal justice system has remained a serious civil rights and public health concern. Civil… Read More


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By Robert Sullivan, Director, Johnson County’s Department of Corrections Leveraging a University Partnership In May 2016, Johnson County partnered with the University of Chicago’s Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) Fellowship to develop a predictive analytics model that would promote intergovernmental opportunities for cross-system cooperation and coordination while increasing our ability to proactively connect individuals… Read More


PRA’s LaVerne D. Miller and Travis Parker spoke with Vermont’s attorney general and a former police chief about the role of prosecutors and law enforcement officials in avoiding the criminalization of mental illness. This was the second portion of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law’s tenth annual conference at New York University. VIEW VIDEO… Read More


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  By Tamra Oman, Human Resources Program Coordinator and Recovery Support Specialist, Wisconsin Resource Center Tamra Oman, Human Resources Program Coordinator and Recovery Support Specialist at the Wisconsin Resource Center, shared her reflections on her participation in the Peer Support in Criminal Justice Settings Curriculum Development Workshop. In this Workshop, attendees were tasked with developing… Read More


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This article is part of a GAINS Center series on promoting race equity in behavioral health and justice outcomes. Read Part 3 here. By the Multnomah County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council Four years ago, Multnomah County, Oregon was at the beginning of a critical and challenging process. The County’s Local Public Safety Coordinating Council—a collaboration… Read More


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By Margarita Alegría, Ph.D.1,2, Amanda NeMoyer, J.D., Ph.D.1,3, Marie Fukuda, B.M.1, Jill Rosenthal, M.P.H.4, Najeia Mention, B.A.4, Gilberto Perez, Jr., M.S.W., A.C. S.W 5 , Deborah Delman, B.S.6, Valeria Chambers, C.P.S., Ed.M.6, Catherine Quinerly, C.P.S., C.P.R.P.6 This article is part of a GAINS Center series on promoting race equity in behavioral health and justice outcomes.… Read More


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By Robert Sullivan Editor’s Note: The following article explains how one jurisdiction has incorporated the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen into its jail intake process to more comprehensively identify and serve people with mental illness coming into the County jail. Criminal Justice Coordinator Robert Sullivan provides a first-hand account of their work: Like so many… Read More


Law Enforcement and Community_ Crisis Intervention Training Model

Applications are now being accepted for the Law Enforcement & Community: Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)  Model Program, supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance VALOR Initiative. U.S. law enforcement agencies are encouraged to apply by April 20! Download the Solicitation Read the Solicitation Frequently Asked Questions (updated April 16, 2018) U.S. law enforcement agencies are… Read More


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By Heather Kugelmass, Ph.D. This article is part of a GAINS Center series on promoting race equity in behavioral health and justice outcomes. Read Part 1 here. Tyrone Tyrone Booker was experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Overcoming inhibitions to see a psychotherapist, he left voicemail messages for 80 therapists in his city who were… Read More


PRA Senior Project Associate Jen Elder was quoted in the February/March 2018 issue of the Nation’s Health Magazine. In the article,  ‘Housing first’ model making inroads on homelessness: Caring for people who are homeless, she discusses the impact of Housing First:

“Housing first is a matter of values, said Jen Elder, MSc, policy chair for the Caucus on Homelessness and co-author of APHA’s new policy statement. Taxpayer money already goes toward emergency services, incarceration and other consequences of homelessness that could be mitigated with housing first policies. It makes sense to invest in interventions ‘that truly increase positive health outcomes of people and treat them with dignity and respect,’ she said.”

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Here at SAMHSA’s GAINS Center, we want to acknowledge and help foster conversations and change around one critical issue that has long been present but is often not discussed in our work to improve criminal justice and behavioral health systems. That issue is the reality of disparate outcomes for people of color in the behavioral… Read More


On December 31, 2017, Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) celebrated a major milestone—its 30th Anniversary. Founded by Dr. Henry J. Steadman in 1987 with one grant, four employees, and one partner, over the years PRA has risen to be one of the foremost experts in behavioral health and systems serving disadvantaged populations. Since 2014, PRA… Read More


The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) supports jurisdictions around the country working to safely reduce over-reliance on jails. Jurisdictions participating in the Challenge develop and model effective ways to keep people out of jail who don’t belong there, more effectively reintegrate those who must be confined into the… Read More


Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) has been awarded the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Best Practices for Psychiatrists Treating Justice-Involved Populations in Community Care contract. Through this contract, PRA will develop a monograph and deliver a webinar that details best practices for psychiatrists providing care to people who are justice-involved and have… Read More


Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) was awarded the Youth Engagement Strategies to Prepare Youth for Successful Adulthood project from Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This project will support youth engagement in federal, state, and local policies and programs. PRA’s project team will… Read More


Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) has received continued funding to support the operation of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation. In the Fiscal Year 2018 exercise of the GAINS Center contract, PRA will undertake several new/continuing pieces of work on behalf of SAMHSA: Coordinate… Read More


Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) was recently awarded the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) new Expanding the Adoption of Workplace Mental Health Approaches project. This one-year project is the follow-up to SAMHSA’s Emotional Wellness and Mental Health in the Workplace project completed by PRA in September 2017. In May 2017, PRA staff… Read More


Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) has been awarded a contract under the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) VALOR Initiative: Law Enforcement and Community: Crisis Intervention Training Model program. In conjunction with BJA, PRA will provide communities with targeted training and technical assistance to implement BJA’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model. PRA will work closely with… Read More


PRA-IPH Partnership-Media Post

Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) is proud to announce that it has partnered with Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) in this year’s Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s Adopt-A-Program. PRA’s donation match will support IPH’s efforts in serving individuals and families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness in the Capital Region. PRA will match… Read More


AHA_Index-Award-Bronze-2017

Policy Research Associates has, once again, been recognized by the American Heart Association in its Workplace Health Achievement Index.  This year, PRA achieved bronze-level recognition by embedding a culture of health and wellness in the office.  PRA encourages healthy living by providing a number of options for our employees, including physical activity and wellness support,… Read More


Peer Core Competency Meeting

Over the past decade there has been increased interest in the roles that people with lived experience can play as peers in supporting the recovery of justice-involved adults diagnosed with mental illness and addiction.  Peer services encompass a range of activities and interactions between people that inspire hope for recovery, dispel myths about behavioral health… Read More


Multnomah County Courthouse Rendering

Photo credit: SRG Partnership, Inc. ©2016 Open scene: It’s a rainy Monday morning, and a long line of bleary-eyed people are slowly making their way into the courthouse. People with court dates, attorneys, court staff, and others are peeling off belts, shoes, loose change, and whatever else is triggering the metal detector alarm. The incessant beeping… Read More


Pamela Clark Robbins

Pamela Clark Robbins, CEO of Policy Research Associates, Inc., has been named the 2016 Business Person of the Year by the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce. Bethlehem’s Business Person of the Year award is given in recognition of the achievements and community contributions of a local business leader. The designation honors leaders who have dedicated themselves… Read More


Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) is proud to announce that it has been awarded the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) multi-award Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. Through this award, PRA has the ability to bid on SAMHSA task orders in each of its three awarded Domains over the next 5 years.… Read More


Objective This research examined the frequency of and characteristics associated with three forms of violence among persons with mental illness—violence directed at others, self-directed violence, and violence directed at them by others. Methods Previously unreported data from a follow-up sample of 951 patients from the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study were analyzed to characterize involvement… Read More


Plan for Change with the Sequential Intercept Model

Effective criminal justice reform starts with a strong strategic plan. The Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) workshop, developed by Policy Research Associates, is an effective strategy to help communities assess available resources, determine gaps in services, and plan for community change. Through the SIM workshops, communities are able to identify local resources, service gaps, and priorities.… Read More


My name is Cynthia Castaneda and I am the CEO of Home Build on Hope, Inc. in El Paso, Texas. I have achieved this position with the support of people who have made a difference in my life. My journey began in 2010 while receiving treatment in the El Paso, Texas 384th Substance Abuse Felony… Read More


“‘Intercept 0″ has been the hidden hero here in Pima County for a number of years,” Kate Lawson told SAMHSA’s GAINS Center staff during a recent discussion of crisis and pre-crisis services in Pima County (Tucson), Arizona, where she works for the county attorney’s office. In early 2016, Ms. Lawson participated as part of a… Read More


Policy Research Associates, Inc.’s (PRA’s) sister firm, Policy Research, Inc. (PRI), has been awarded the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Analyzing Relationships between Disability, Rehabilitation, and Work (ARDRAW) small grant program. The ARDRAW small grant program builds on SSA’s existing Disability Determination Process (DDP) Small Grant Program, operated by PRI. Through the 5-year ARDRAW small grant program, PRI will annually administer 25 stipends… Read More


SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, operated by Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) is known nationally for its work regarding people with behavioral health needs involved in the criminal justice system. Each year, the GAINS Center provides its trauma-informed responses training, How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses, to the field… Read More


Safety + Justice Challenge logo

Policy Research Associates, Inc.’s sister firm, Policy Research, Inc., has been awarded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge—Serious Mental Illness Technical Assistance contract. The Safety and Justice Challenge is an initiative designed to reduce over-incarceration in America’s jails through local jurisdiction-level change. Jurisdictions participating in the Safety and Justice… Read More


A new evaluation of the SOAR online training model, SOAR Online Course Increases Capacity for Assisting Individuals with Disabilities in the U.S., was published by Frontiers in Public Health in May 2016. The study focused on the unique integration of a practice SSI/SSDI application into the training, the first of its kind in public health online… Read More


JCocozza-2014

It is with warm wishes and heavy hearts that we announce the retirement of Vice President Joseph J. Cocozza, Director of the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research Associates on June 3, 2016. Joe, a national expert on juvenile justice and children’s mental health, has been a thought leader at PRA… Read More


A new evaluation of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) model published online by Psychiatric Services has found that disability applications that used the SOAR model had a higher likelihood of approval than applications that did not follow the SOAR model. The study, An Evaluation of SOAR: Implementation… Read More


The Implementation Academy Model for Behavioral Health Services for Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF): From Policy to Services, written by staff members Donna Aligata and Henry J. Steadman was published in the April 2016 edition of Psychiatric Services. This paper provides an overview of the Implementation Academy model, which has been used to… Read More


With the support of the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation, and in collaboration with the Council of State Governments Justice Center, Policy Research Associates is launching the Behavioral Health and Justice Leadership Academy initiative to promote the development of local leaders to address behavioral health and criminal justice issues in their communities. Through participation in… Read More


The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has released When Political Will Is Not Enough: Jails, Communities and Persons with Mental Health Disorders, a report by Policy Research Associates, Inc. The report, authored by Henry J. Steadman, Ph.D.; Joseph P. Morrissey, Ph.D.; and Travis W. Parker, M.S., L.I.M.H.P., C.P.C., reviews factors contributing to the… Read More


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has awarded Policy Research Associates (PRA) with the Program to Achieve Wellness (PAW) contract. The purpose of PAW is to promote and facilitate wellness initiatives for people with behavioral health conditions, including those with the serious mental illnesses and with co-occurring substance use disorders. The contract will be… Read More


Policy Research Associates, Inc. will be partnering with the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, together with other leaders in behavioral health and criminal justice, on an unprecedented effort to lower the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. The STEPPING UP initiative will focus on advancing… Read More


Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey has announced plans to divert lower-level offenders with mental health issues out of jails and into treatment, based on a report developed by Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA). The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office contracted with Policy Research Associates (PRA) in the summer of 2014 to develop behavioral… Read More


Please join us in congratulating Matt Canuteson on his 2014 VOICE Award from SAMHSA! Presented on Aug. 13 in Los Angeles, the award honors consumer and peer leaders whose work and personal stories of resilience are educating the public about behavioral health. Matt has been employed by PRA since 2009 and is a longtime advocate… Read More


The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges created Advancing Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts: Policy and Program Briefs. This series of three briefs provides information to juvenile drug treatment courts on how to effectively serve youth with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. Developing… Read More


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation are collaborating on an effort to support early diversion for justice-involved American Indian youth with behavioral health needs. Based on their commitment to improving diversion policies and programs for these youth, four tribes were selected to participate in… Read More


SAMHSA and the MacArthur Foundation have issued a joint press announcement regarding the Juvenile Justice-Behavioral Health Diversion Policy Academy-Action Network initiative, coordinated by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research Associates, Inc. and the Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. The goal of this effort is to improve policies and programs for… Read More


MH/JJ E-News is aimed at drawing attention to the large numbers of youth involved with the juvenile justice system who have mental health needs, and highlighting the efforts of Models for Change and the Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network to develop and implement new models and strategies for improving the response to these youth. Each… Read More


The SOAR TA Center has released a new issue brief on involving peers in SOAR. Peer support workers can effectively engage people throughout the SSI/SSDI application process and provide ongoing support to individuals seeking benefits. For examples of peer support roles in SSI/SSDI advocacy visit our website at https://www.prainc.com/soar/library/ and click on the Topic Areas… Read More


SAMHSA’s GAINS Center and the National Drug Court Institute are pleased to announce a new practitioner fact sheet titled Six Steps to Improve Your Drug Court Outcomes for Adults with Co-Occurring Disorders. The GAINS Center and NDCI believe that every adult drug court can achieve positive outcomes for persons with co-occurring disorders—if the court is… Read More


SAMHSA’s GAINS Center has developed a national database of all existing mental health courts in the United States. The database identifies the name, location, year established, target participants, approximate annual enrollments, and contact information for each court. The first of its kind for US mental health courts, this database provides a quick and easy resource… Read More


PRA recently received a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to support the Mental Health Collaborative for Change: A Training, Technical Assistance and Education Center (TTAEC). TTAEC is a national training and technical assistance center that will actively support the replication and expansion of the mental health resources that were developed through Models for Change. The… Read More


With funding from the National Institute of Justice, PRA and the Vera Institute of Justice will identify the resources constraints, ethical dilemmas, practical challenges and best practices that impact the ability of indigent defense attorneys to provide effective counsel that meets the needs of their clients with mental health disorders.… Read More


With funding from the National Institute of Justice, PRA is partnering with Summit County Juvenile Court for a new study, Building and Enhancing Criminal Justice Research – Practitioner Partnerships. This study compares the adult criminal justice and child welfare system outcomes and costs of four pathways through the juvenile justice system – traditional probation, intensive probation,… Read More


PRA President Henry Steadman, Senior Research Associate Lisa Callahan, and Vice President Pamela Clark Robbins travelled to San Francisco, CA for the American Public Health Association’s 140th Annual Meeting and Expo, October 27-31, 2012. Dr. Steadman and Dr. Callahan presented a paper they authored, Designing More Effective Mental Health Courts, based on findings from the MacArthur Mental Health… Read More


Susan Stone, JD, MD, joined the PRA Team as a Senior Project Associate in October 2012. Susan lives in the Austin, Texas area and has worked with the GAINS Center for many years. She will continue to work with the Criminal Justice division in a variety of capacities. Dr. Stone is a licensed attorney, board-certified psychiatrist, board certified forensic psychiatrist. She… Read More


The Statewide Family and Consumer Networks Technical Assistance Center (FCN TA Center), operated by Policy Research Associates since 2009, is very excited to welcome and begin supporting 11 new Statewide Consumer Network grantees (2012 cohort below). These grants, providing funding up to $70,000 a year for three years, help existing statewide consumer networks strengthen coalitions… Read More


Suicide is a leading cause of death over the course of the lifespan. Individuals with mental illness and those experiencing significant life stressors are at an increased risk of suicide – in approximately 90% of completed suicides, individuals have symptoms of a psychiatric disorder. Individuals with mental illness are over-represented in the criminal justice system,… Read More


We’re excited to announce the arrival of a new way of keeping track of your SOAR-assisted SSA disability applications.  It’s web-based, easy to use and can be accessed anywhere.  Of course, I’m talking about the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center’s Online Application Tracking Program, also known as OAT.  So far 25 states and 300 different agencies… Read More


Eight states were competitively selected to participate in an innovative project, Improving Diversion Policies and Programs for Justice Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: An Integrated Policy Academy/Action Network Initiative. States selected for participation include: Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia. This effort, sponsored by the… Read More


This map is a product of a larger National Institute of Justice-funded project intended to assess the effectiveness of juvenile mental health courts as a public safety strategy. Through this initiative, PRA will soon be releasing a Common Elements of Juvenile Mental Health Courts resource guide. Visit the GAINS Center website for more information.… Read More


The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, at Policy Research Associates, Inc., selected 10 sites to participate in a new training initiative designed to create sustainable mental health training capacity within state and local juvenile justice systems. Selected sites include Alaska, Maricopa County, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, New Mexico, New York City,… Read More


A core public policy question for jail diversion programs, regardless of what outcomes they achieve, is whether and to what extent they generate cost savings. Apart from a general pattern of cost shifting from the criminal justice system to the community mental health system, studies on the costs of jail diversion programs have yielded limited… Read More


Wiig, J.K., Cocozza, J.J., Morris, J.A., Shufelt, J.L., Skowyra, K. (2010). Sustaining Change: A models for change guidebook. A collaborative effort of the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare League of America, and Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc.… Read More