BJA Justice and Mental Health Collaboration

The BJA Collaboration project is funded by a Planning and Implementation grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to increase public safety by improving the effective supervision and treatment of female offenders with serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders that are multisystem-involved.

Funding: Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice

Partners: Maricopa County Adult Probation

Program Description: Maricopa County Adult Probation, in partnership with the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, received a Category 2: Planning and Implementation grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in order to increase public safety by improving the effective supervision and treatment of female offenders with serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders that are multisystem-involved.

This 2-year project is focused around three inter-related program goals:

  1. Knowledge, skills, and abilities of probation officers, detention officers, correctional health staff, court and judicial staff, and comprehensive community-based behavioral health services and case management staff will be enhanced through an integrated program of information dissemination (including web-based resources, briefing and FAQ sheets, informational posters), awareness raising in-service workshops, and skill enhancement learning circles and cross-training workshops. These training and information dissemination efforts will focus upon evidence supported models.

  2. A program of treatment and support services targeting justice-involved women with serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders that is gender specific, trauma informed will be implemented that  includes screening, assessment, and referral to Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (F-ACT) with transitional  housing to females in jail and evidence-based probation supervision focused on relationship building, incentives for progress toward supervision goals, and graduated responses to issues of noncompliance to program participants upon release.  This program will address significant gaps that exist in much needed services for female offenders with co-occurring disorders and Serious Mental Illness (SMI) by ensuring immediate access to services at the point of discharge and re-entry to the community.

  3. The quality, impact, and reach of interagency collaboration among and between those agencies engaged in the arrest, confinement, adjudication, supervision, treatment, and support of women with psychiatric impairments in general and women with SMI/co-occurring disorders in particular will be enhanced through the development of cross-agency protocols, joint training activities, and by strengthening the existing structure and processes of the Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition which serves as an inter-agency coalition of criminal justice, behavioral health, and advocacy organizations.  

The implementation of this project will draw upon the expertise and capabilities of five agencies, each representing a unique and complimentary set of capabilities and competencies:  Maricopa County Adult Probation (MCAP), Maricopa County Correctional Health Services (MCCHS), People of Color Network (PCN), David's Hope (grass roots community advocacy organization), Hope Lives (consumer-operated support program), and Arizona State University’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy (ASU CABHP).

As a result of this two-year project, training to deliver gender and criminogenic responsive, trauma-informed services will be provided to approximately 600 criminal justice and behavioral health personnel, and 20 women with co-occurring disorders during their incarceration and subsequent release to the community through newly developed re-entry services.

Click here to access the Project Overview, Reports and Outcomes, and Training Materials

CABHP's Role: Provide technical assistance and consultation in support of project goals including providing expertise in areas such as evidence-based practices, program implementation, and systems change.  Facilitate strengthening the existing structure and processes of the Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition which serves as an inter-agency coalition of criminal justice, behavioral health, and advocacy organizations. Develop and deliver educational events and materials for behavioral health and criminal justice personnel to enhance knowledge and awareness of trauma-informed, gender specific, and criminogenic responsive treatment and support services. Evaluate project performance and document project achievements.

Principal Investigator: Michael S. Shafer, Ph.D.

Project Managers: Training/TA - Vicki Staples, M.Ed.

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