Strengthening connections among criminal justice agencies, behavioral health organizations, and the community to improve wellbeing for people with mental health conditions or co-occurring substance use disorders.

About

Officer kneels and talks with man seated

Beginning with legislation in 2004, the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) launched 2 years later as a program under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). Its mission is to unify justice and health partners around a common goal: reducing criminal justice involvement for people with mental health conditions, or mental health and co-occurring substance use conditions, and connecting them to treatment and services. Since 2006, JMHCP has funded more than 600 grantees across 49 states and 2 U.S. territories to support this goal. Grantees include states, local governments, and federally recognized Indian tribes. In 2020, BJA relaunched the Connect and Protect: Law Enforcement Behavioral Health grant program under JMHCP. Connect and Protect is specifically focused on helping law enforcement and behavioral health agencies work together to improve crisis responses for people with mental health needs or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. 

JMHCP supports efforts at every point in the criminal justice system, from pre-arrest through reentry, and helps communities strengthen their responses to behavioral health crises. With JMHCP funding, communities have implemented specialized courts to increase diversion opportunities for people with behavioral health conditions, developed innovative responses to 911 crisis calls, and pioneered police-mental health collaborations across the country, creating co-responder units, homeless outreach teams, mobile crisis teams, crisis intervention models, and more. In fact, more than 100 law enforcement agencies have used JMHCP funding to establish partnerships with local behavioral health professionals and implement models that help reduce officer encounters with people who have mental health needs. And over the past 2 years, 19 Communities of Practice have focused efforts on increasing housing options, improving crisis services and early diversion to reduce jail bookings, developing gender-responsive services, and addressing the needs of rural communities.

JMHCP also regularly supports communities that do not have grants through resources and up-to-date guidance for leaders looking to promote public safety, connect people to treatment and services, and reduce unnecessary arrests and criminal justice contact. This includes a range of briefs, publications, interactive tools, and support centers that center evidence-based strategies and promising practices. It also includes national efforts such as the Stepping Up Initiative, Taking the Call, and the Law Enforcement-Mental Health learning sites.


Grant Announcements

Visit BJA.OJP.gov to learn about newly announced federal grant funding opportunities and how they can support justice and mental health partnerships in your community. Learn more about JMHCP.


Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about JMHCP and its offerings. 

Who is eligible to apply for JMHCP grants?

Eligible applicants are limited to states, units of local government, and federally recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations. Applications must demonstrate that the proposed project will be administered jointly by a criminal or juvenile justice agency and a mental health agency, although only one is responsible for submitting the application.

When can I apply for grants?

The solicitation for JMHCP applications is typically released in the first half of each calendar year. Please subscribe to receive updates from the CSG Justice Center to hear about these solicitations and other funding opportunities. 

When does the grant term begin? Does it begin when we receive notification, when we begin to draw down funds, or when the revised budget is approved?

The start date of the grant is indicated by the date included in the award notification document, where it can be found in box number 6. However, some award letters include a special condition prohibiting you from spending any money pending an approval of your budget. You will then receive notification from BJA indicating that your budget has been approved.

Do we have to file for an extension if our progress was delayed due to the necessity of submitting a budget revision? How do we file for an extension?

  • If you will not be able to complete the work described in your application within the time period provided, you should request a no cost extension. Project period extension requests are made by submitting a grant adjustment notice in the JustGrants Grant and Payment Management System. You can access information on submitting grant adjustment notices through the Office of Justice Programs Financial Guide. Questions about JustGrants can be answered by visiting https://justicegrants.usdoj.gov/
  • It is not unusual for grantees to request an extension, but before beginning this process, you should first contact your grant manager to explain the need for an extension. Your grant manager can also address any questions you have about the process. 

What are the reporting requirements under the grant?

  • Information on budget reporting requirements can be found on the Office of Justice Program’s Funding Resource Center. This website provides a detailed explanation of reporting requirements under the links to the “Financial Guide” and “Post Award Instructions.” As a JMHCP grantee, you will be required to submit performance measure data on a quarterly basis to the BJA Performance Measurement Tool (PMT). Before the first reporting deadline, CSG Justice Center staff will conduct trainings to walk you through the PMT. In addition, you must also file progress reports to BJA twice a year through the JustGrants Grant and Payment Management System. You should describe the level of success you have had around these objectives and your activities to date. The Post Award Instructions document also contains a list of frequently asked questions about these reporting requirements that may be helpful to you. 
  • If you are a planning and implementation grantee, you will also be required to submit a copy of a completed planning and implementation guide, which you can learn about in your grantee orientation webinar. 

Who can we call with questions or requests for assistance regarding the work of our grant?

The CSG Justice Center can support your grant activities with information, resource materials, and answers to your questions during the term of your grant. The CSG Justice Center has great expertise on staff, has authored numerous publications, and is well positioned to connect you with other sources of information and assistance. The staff can also help connect you with colleagues so that you can benefit from their experiences. If you have any questions, contact the CSG Justice Center staff person assigned to your project.

Will representatives of the CSG Justice Center visit our site?

Travel restrictions are currently in effect for most CSG Justice Center staff. However, the staff member assigned to your project may be able to provide virtual “on-site” technical assistance to grantees. You can discuss this with that staff member as you develop a technical assistance plan.

How can we ensure that the program we develop is sustainable over time?

  • It is important to collect outcome data and educate your community about the availability of services for people with mental illness coming into contact with the criminal justice system in order to plan successfully for future sustainability. There are several resources available on this website that provide information about data and metrics and sustainability. Visit the Resources page and filter by these additional topics to quickly find them. 
  • Here are a few notable publications and tools to assist in sustainability planning: 

What are some examples of JMHCP and Connect & Protect grantees that have been successful?

FY2021 JMHCP Awardee: Durham County, North Carolina

The Durham County Criminal Justice Resource Center (the lead applicant and mental health partner) is collaborating with the Durham County District Attorney’s office to enhance the capacity of the county’s mental health court and . The Mental Health Court Expansion Initiative (MHCEI) will address two program-specific priority areas: (1) promoting effective strategies to expand the use of mental health courts and related services; and (2) using a validated assessment tool to identify and prioritize individuals with a moderate or high risk of recidivism and a need for mental health treatment.

MHCEI reduces critical gaps in Durham County’s diversion efforts by enhancing treatment supports for mental health court clients and addressing the needs of individuals with mental illnesses who do not meet mental health court eligibility requirements. There are six components of MHCEI: (1) a timely, streamlined, and coordinated screening, assessment, and referral process using validated instruments that assess mental health needs, offense information, and criminogenic risk; (2) a co-located mental health professional within the District Attorney’s Office to triage cases and screen and assess potentially eligible individuals; (3) enhanced treatment services for mental health court clients, particularly for people without Medicaid; (4) additional diversion programming for people who do not meet the mental health court criteria; (5) collaboration with specialized mental health probation officers; and (6) cross-agency trainings for mental health and criminal justice partners.

During the planning year, the applicant and partner will lay the groundwork for the six primary activities. In accordance with mental health court best practices, the partners will establish an inter-disciplinary advisory team of stakeholders from criminal justice, mental health, and substance use service providers to assist with planning and administration of the project. At the end of the planning year, the applicant team will produce a detailed protocol for mental health court operations, a logic model, and a flow chart diagramming the screening, assessment, referral, and engagement process. At the close of the project period, the applicant team will provide a summary of the process and outcome evaluation reporting on the project activities, as well as clients’ mental health (e.g., treatment engagement) and criminal justice outcomes (e.g., re-arrests, convictions). The University of North Carolina is a proposed subcontractor for evaluation. Durham County received the following JMHCP awards: FY2006, FY2008, FY2010, and FY2016. and FY2021 Connect & Protect.

FY2021 JMHCP Awardee: Hennepin County, Minnesota

Hennepin County, Minnesota will reduce excessive justice system involvement for its residents with mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders by expanding hours, lines of service, and client engagement at its Behavioral Health and Wellness Clinic in Minneapolis. The clinic is a comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder drop-off crisis stabilization center, where law enforcement officers can divert individuals for care and treatment rather than bringing them to a detention facility. Key project activities will include expanding clinic services to evening hours, developing and piloting a new competency restoration service at the clinic, and implementing effective client engagement strategies to inform ongoing clinic quality improvement. Key deliverables of the project include increasing the number of clinic visits from 1,250 in Year 1 to 7,000 in Year 3; creating and piloting a clinic-based competency restoration model with 25 residents; and collecting 250 hours of input based on lived experiences from 75 clinic clients. The targeted benefits are a 30 percent reduction in detention for participants in clinic services; reductions in racial disparities among clients; improved readiness to scale community-based competency restoration services; and client-informed improvements to clinic policies, procedures, facilities, and lines of service. The lead applicant is Hennepin County’s Adult Behavioral Health Division, and the partnering applicant is the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office. Numerous other justice partners, including the Hennepin County Sherriff’s Office, Minneapolis Police Department, suburban police departments, the 4th Judicial District, the Public Defender’s Office, and the County Attorney’s Office, will also collaborate on project activities. The Hennepin County Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Initiative Task Force will serve as the interagency advisory board. Hennepin County received the following JMHCP awards: FY2015 and FY2018

FY2019 JMHCP Awardee: Maine Department of Corrections

The Maine Department of Corrections (MEDOC) partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Maine branch (NAMI-ME) and Health Affiliates of Maine (HAM) to address the rising rates of female incarceration due to opioid use, mental illness, and co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. MEDOC plans to address the increase in female incarceration in 3 ways: (1) by providing mental health first aid training to 240 women incarcerated in 2 female correctional facilities; (2) by training 5 formerly incarcerated women to serve as peer support specialists and to assist with the delivery of the Inspiring Minds peer education group, which will be delivered in prison to women who are currently incarcerated; and (3) by preparing women to engage in clinical services upon their release from prison and scheduling an appointment with a community treatment provider for them to meet with post prison. Lastly, correctional staff will participate in gender-specific Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training to better understand how to respond to the needs of women who are incarcerated. On a quarterly basis, all project-related data will be sent to an external evaluator who will prepare the data for an annual summary that will include a review of proposed outcomes.

FY2021 Connect & Protect Awardee: City of Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Police Department (BPD), in partnership with Boston Medical Center’s Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST), are seeking Connect and Protect funds to enhance its behavioral health response efforts. They will use these funds to: (1) hire a full-time master’s-level BEST clinician to serve as the Section 12 coordinator within the Street Outreach Unit; (2) embark on a culturally sensitive educational campaign to inform Boston residents about enhancements to the BPD’s mental health response efforts, including the Section 12 program; and (3) work with an academic partner to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. The City of Boston received the following JMHCP awards: FY2010, FY2013, FY2016, and FY2019.

FY2021 Connect & Protect Awardee: City of Tucson, Arizona

The Community Assessment Response and Engagement (CARE) project is a coordinated effort of the Tucson Police Department (TPD) and Connections Health Solutions to launch a law enforcement/mental health co-responder model. The CARE team will consist of a bachelor’s level clinician who will serve as the program manager and two case navigators/peers. The CARE team will respond to real-time crisis events, provide community stabilization, conduct follow-up/wrap around case management (e.g., assist with skill building, transportation to primary care and other health appointments, securing ID for patients, and connecting patients to same-day housing placement), address complex medical issues, and train law enforcement personnel across Pima County in de-escalation techniques, crisis intervention, and trauma informed care. This team will prioritize individuals at risk of harm with mental illnesses or co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders, women with mental illnesses or co-occurring substance use disorders, and individuals with a moderate to high risk of recidivism.

The CARE team will act as a force multiplier for the well-established Mental Health Support Team and will serve 500 adults and juveniles per year. To develop the CARE team, a multi-agency planning committee that includes law enforcement, community treatment providers, prosecutors, and public defenders will be created. The task force will develop policies and procedures for the CARE team, identify and deliver pertinent trainings for the team (e.g., trauma-informed care and motivational interviewing), craft the necessary data sharing agreements, ensure quality data collection protocols are in place, create a mission statement, and hire the new CARE team staff members during the planning phase of the grant. During implementation, the CARE team will respond to calls and collect data, which the project partners will use to evaluate the program’s impact on behavioral health disparities related to access, engagement, and retention in Medication-Assisted Treatment; health-related treatment and services; substance use and mental health outcomes; and law enforcement encounters.

FY2021 Connect & Protect Awardee: Colorado Department of Public Safety

The Colorado Department of Public Safety will be building on the work done for its 2019 planning grant to better connect individuals who call 911 because of a behavioral health crisis to the care they need. The Colorado Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Justice will partner with the Colorado 911 Resource Center, Colorado Office of Behavioral Health, Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention, and a number of other partners to accomplish the grant goals. The goals identified for the grantee team are: (1) create an interactive web-based planning and decision-making tool for region-specific specialized responses; (2) develop a specialized response program registry and interactive map; (3) develop and provide several e-Learning courses for emergency responders; and (4) designate Colorado state Police Mental Health Collaboration peer learning sites modeled after the national Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Site program. Beyond these goals, the project partners will: (1) explore the possibility of a voluntary registry for individuals who want their disability information available to emergency responders when dispatching specialized response units, and (2) developing a model peer specialist pilot program that will focus on post-crisis engagement and navigation of supportive services to decrease the occurrence of repeat crisis interventions. A portion of the grant will be subcontracted to a yet-to-be determined agency to pilot the peer specialist navigation program. The model developed during the planning phase will determine the number of individuals that will be served. The Colorado Department of Public Safety received the following JMHCP awards: FY2019.

FY2021 Connect & Protect Awardee: Region XII Commission on Mental Health, Mississippi

The Pine Belt Co-Responder Program (CoRP) in Mississippi is a collaborative effort between local Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)-trained law enforcement officers and Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources’ (PBMHR) Mobile Crisis Response Team to respond to and follow up on behavioral health crisis calls in southern Mississippi. The goals of this collaboration are reducing reliance on jails and emergency rooms and improving treatment engagement for people with mental illness and co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders. The Pine Belt CoRP team is seeking to expand the co-responder team to the Hattiesburg, MS area, which includes Forrest and Lamar counties. PBMHR will hire a mental health clinician and community support specialist for the mobile crisis response team. They will also continue to train and certify CIT officers and seek to expand and adapt this training to include dispatch and correctional officers.

The Pine Belt Crisis Intervention Team (PBCIT) will be expanded and enhanced to provide two law enforcement CIT certification classes per year, and PBMHR will give officers the option to join the mobile crisis co-responder team in person or via telecommunication. The Daily Living Activities (DLA) functional assessment will be administered to program participants to measure their baseline functioning and assist with case planning; it will be re-administered every six months. The program evaluator will provide project officers with systems and client-level data to assist with program monitoring and related decision-making processes. Region XII Commission on Mental Health, Mississippi or Pine Belt Mental Health received the following JMHCP awards: FY2015 and FY2018.

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