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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.

Correctional Facilities

People with behavioral health conditions (e.g., mental health conditions, substance use disorders) are disproportionately incarcerated in correctional facilities across the U.S. While incarcerated, they often face worse outcomes than their peers, including experiencing longer lengths of stay, higher rates of solitary confinement, and a lack of access to needed mental health care.

For more than 15 years, JMHCP has supported efforts to improve these outcomes by funding diversion programs; promoting universal screening and assessment at intake; facilitating collaborative, comprehensive case plans to integrate critical behavioral health and criminogenic risk and needs information into reentry plans; and more. 

Stepping Up Initiative

Screenshot of Stepping Up home page

Collaboration Spotlight

Peter Koutoujian

I’ve been working with a broad set of stakeholders across Massachusetts to bolster approaches that focus on connecting people to treatment. This means providing excellent treatment within our jail and working with our partners to identify diversion opportunities. By using data to identify those who can benefit most from diversion and co-locating behavioral health services in the jail, we can get people the help they need, improve public safety, and make our communities safer and stronger.

Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Sheriff’s Office

Selected Resources

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Key Staff

Megan Davidson

Program Director, Behavioral Health

Dr. Megan Davidson is the program director of the Stepping Up initiative, the national effort to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in the justice system. Megan has over 10 years of experience leading complex stakeholder engagement, research and evaluation, and technical assistance projects at the intersection of behavioral health and criminal justice. She has supported many jurisdictions with the implementation and evaluation of systemic efforts intended to improve outcomes for individuals touched by the behavioral health and criminal justice systems. Megan earned her PhD in public affairs with a concentration in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida.

Mark Stovell

Mark Stovell

Project Manager, Behavioral Health

Mark oversees the delivery of broad-based technical assistance products and tools to assist counties in their Stepping Up efforts. Mark has also provided technical assistance to Second Chance Act and Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grantees that serve people with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental illness, and he has coordinated additional projects designed to advance practices at the intersection of the criminal justice and behavioral health. Before joining the CSG Justice Center, Mark worked for the Partnership to End Addiction in New York City where he developed educational tools for state decisionmakers on improving addiction prevention and treatment through health policy. He also worked for Families USA in Washington, DC and for Hunger Free Vermont as part of the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship. Mark earned his BA in political science and sociology from Ohio University and his MPA at Baruch College.

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