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.

Changing the Narrative

For years, behavioral health professionals, community advocates, and criminal justice leaders have faced challenges decreasing the overrepresentation of people with behavioral health needs in the justice system. While many have worked to find solutions, time and again, individuals with these needs have continued to cycle through the criminal justice system at great health, fiscal, and human costs. Prosecutors have the opportunity to support effective connections to community-based treatment and address systemic inequities. This brief details what prosecutors can do in their capacity, offers tips for determining who they may want to partner with, and suggests practical actions they can take to support diversion efforts locally.

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Author

Profile image of Katie Herman

Katie Herman

Senior Policy Analyst, Behavioral Health

[email protected]

Katie Herman plays a key role in the Stepping Up initiative, mental health diversion, and other work at the intersection of justice, behavioral health, and homelessness. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, she worked at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES) in New York City for eight years. She was initially the court liaison social worker for the CASES Nathaniel ACT Team, the city’s first felony alternative to incarceration program for adults with serious mental illnesses. She then supervised their Criminal and Supreme Court Team. Katie received a BA in English from the University of San Diego and an MSW from the Columbia University School of Social Work.

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