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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Justice Mental Health

The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program hoped to increase public safety by facilitating collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and mental health and substance abuse treatment systems to increase access to services for offenders with mental illness. The Program encouraged early intervention for system-involved individuals with mental illness; provided new and existing mental health courts with various treatment options; maximized diversion opportunities for nonviolent offenders with mental illness and co-occurring disorders; promoted training for justice and treatment professionals on criminal justice processes and mental health and substance abuse issues; and facilitated communication, collaboration, and the delivery of support services among justice professionals, treatment and related service providers, and governmental partners.

The Nebraska Health and Human Services – Division of Behavioral Health Services, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice received from the DOJ-Bureau of Justice Assistance a Justice-Mental Health Collaboration grant to support a statewide strategic planning process. Nebraska assembled a diverse team of key stakeholders to undertake the planning work over a 12-month period. The planning process resulted in a Strategic Action Plan to help Nebraska achieve its vision of an improved cross-disciplinary system of care for persons with mental illness who encounter the criminal justice system throughout Nebraska.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health received a second grant from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance to implement Nebraska’s strategic plan. Special attention will be given to young adults with behavioral health needs who are aging out of the juvenile justice system at ages 18 – 24.

The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center facilitated the strategic planning process with guidance from a Steering Committee of partnering state agencies, court administration, consumers and families, service providers and law enforcement. The planning process interfaced with related diversion program initiatives in the metropolitan cities of Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska’s Behavioral Health Reform initiative, Medicaid Reform, and the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health State Infrastructure Grant.

Key Partners

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Lead Contact

Staff Researchers