Justice behavioral health initiative
Finding a balance between two systems
Many of the people cycling in and out of jails and correctional institutions suffer from untreated mental illness. The traditional criminal justice system is not sufficiently responsive to clients who have mental and chemical health needs. It too often relies on deep end, one-size-fits-all interventions. The behavioral health system also is not designed to serve people who are also involved in the criminal justice process. As a result, expensive crisis venues have become the default resource for behavioral health care.
Many people don’t fit neatly into either traditional system. These mismatches end up costing both the health care and criminal justice system too much money for little benefit to the people who need help most.
In Hennepin County, the Criminal Justice Behavioral Health Initiative is working to break this cycle by bringing about system alignment in hopes of creating better outcomes for some of our most vulnerable residents. County programs are leveraging county resources across systems, to maximize collective experience and implementing innovative solutions that are creative and flexible, to focus more effort where it makes most sense in the criminal justice process.