CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses

Law enforcement officers throughout the country

regularly respond to calls for service that involve

people with mental illnesses—often without

needed supports, resources, or specialized training

These encounters can have significant consequences

for the officers, people with mental

illnesses and their loved ones, the community, and

the criminal justice system.

3

Law enforcement officers throughout the country

regularly respond to calls for service that involve

people with mental illnesses—often without

needed supports, resources, or specialized training.

Although these encounters may constitute a relatively small number

of an agency’s total calls for service, they are

among the most complex and time-consuming calls

officers must address.4 At these scenes, front-line5 Officers resolve the

officers must stabilize a potentially volatile situation,

determine whether the person poses a danger

to him- or herself or others, and effect an appropriate

disposition that may require a wide range of

community supports.

In the interests of safety and justice, officers

typically take approximately 30 percent of people

with mental illnesses they encounter into custody—

for transport to either an emergency room, a mental

health facility, or jail.

remaining incidents informally, often only able to

Continue Reading "Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses"

6

7 [Mark Godsey]

provide a short-term solution to a person’s longterm

needs. As a consequence, many law enforcement

personnel respond to the same group of

people with mental illnesses and the same locations

repeatedly, straining limited resources and fostering

a collective sense of frustration at the inability to

prevent future encounters. [Mark Godsey]

Continue Reading "Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses"

In response, jurisdictions across the country are

exploring strategies to improve the outcomes of

these encounters and to provide a compassionate

response that prioritizes treatment over incarceration

when appropriate. These efforts took root in the

late 1980s, when the crisis intervention team (CIT)

and law enforcement–mental health co-response

models, described in more detail below, first

emerged. Since that time, hundreds of communities

have implemented these programs; some have replicated

the models, and others have adapted features

to meet their jurisdiction’s unique needs. Although

this number represents only a small fraction of all

U.S. communities, there are many indications that

the level of interest in criminal justice–mental

health collaborative initiatives is surging.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2008/09/improving-respo.html

Mentally Ill | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bfae553ef00e554fc7dbd8834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses:

Comments

Post a comment