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.

Addressing Misconceptions about Mental Health and Violence

Despite public perception that there is a direct connection between mental health and violence, research shows that this relationship is complex and that the presence of a mental illness doesn’t automatically predispose a person to violent behavior. As criminal justice professionals work to protect public safety, it’s important that their policies and practices reflect accurate information, not common misperceptions. This brief addresses these misconceptions, presents important information about risk factors for violence, and offers ways that criminal justice professionals can help mitigate such risks.

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Related Resources


Salt Lake County, Utah: A County Justice and Behavioral Health Systems Improvement Project

Correctional Facilities, Courts, Mental Health, Co-Occurring Substance Use

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Online Tools

FY2023 Planning and Implementation Guide for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

Mental Health, Co-Occurring Substance Use

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Profile image of Deirdra Assey

Deirdra Assey

Senior Policy Analyst, Behavioral Health

[email protected]

Deirdra Assey provides technical assistance to programs planning and implementing criminal justice and mental health collaborations; she also works on projects under the CSG Justice Center’s courts portfolio. Prior to joining the organization, Deirdra worked for Hudson County’s Screening Center at Jersey City Medical Center, where she was a civil commitment evaluator. She also worked with the Hudson County Crisis Intervention Team and has trained with various local law enforcement agencies. Deirdra received her BA and MA in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

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