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 U.S. law enforcement agencies are invited to apply to… Read More

SAMHSA"s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation logo

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.”


SAMHSA"s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation logo

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


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

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

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


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 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