Legislation supports law enforcement response to individuals in crisis
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statements following their Justice and Mental Health Cooperation Reauthorization Actwhich would reauthorize critical grants for mental health courts, crisis intervention teams and other programs that have helped law enforcement agencies support individuals suffering from mental illness for nearly two decades, passed the Senate and now heads to office of the president:
“The mental health and crisis intervention programs funded by these important grants have changed the lives of thousands.” Senator Cornyn said. “I am grateful to my colleagues in the House and Senate for working with me on this important legislation to reauthorize these grants and give mental health courts and crisis intervention teams the certainty that they can continue their life-saving work.” “
“As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand how public safety is improved through collaboration between law enforcement and mental health providers,” Klobuchar said. “This bipartisan legislation will help us ensure we have the training and resources to address mental health issues at all stages of the justice system, from equipping law enforcement to effectively respond to mental health calls to facilitating smooth re-entry into society.”
The Justice and Mental Health Cooperation Reauthorization Act would reauthorize the Justice and Mental Health Collaborative Program (JMHCP) and make several improvements to provide grantees with greater opportunities to respond to and treat individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. The bill was spearheaded in the House by Reps. Bobby Scott (VA-3), Steve Chabot (OH-1), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Tom Emmer (MN-6) and would:
· Support mental health courts and treatment programs for veterans;
· Support programs that offer specialized training for public safety officers and mental health providers;
· Support joint response teams that deploy mental health professionals with law enforcement and allow for a 24/7, 365 response;
· Increasing community capacity and linkage to systems of care to ensure continuity of care and linkage to mental health and substance use disorder crisis services;
· And allow jurisdictions to integrate suicide prevention programs into prisons and detention facilities.
In 2004, Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) created the JMHCP to help states and counties design and implement collaborative efforts between the criminal justice and mental health systems. JMHCP grants have funded mental health courts and other court initiatives, diversion and diversion programs, crisis intervention teams, training for local police departments, and other programs to improve outcomes for people with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders , who come into contact with the criminal justice system. JMHCP has awarded a total of 568 grants to 49 states along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and American Samoa.
JMHCP was last reauthorized in 2016 as Justice and Mental Health Cooperation Reauthorization Act, which was introduced by Senator Cornyn. The provisions of this bill were signed into law as part of the 21St Century Cures Act.
The Justice and Mental Health Cooperation Reauthorization Act is supported by the National Criminal Justice Association, American Correctional Association, American Legion, National Council on Mental Well-Being, National Association of State Directors on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NASADAD), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Mental Health America (MHA), Attorneys Association (APA), National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), American Psychiatric Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, American Psychological Association, National Association of Counties (NACo), Chiefs Association of Major Cities, National Sheriffs Association, Chief County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of state directors n and mental health programs, National Association for Behavioral Health (NABH), Association of Correctional Leaders, American Prison Association, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Safe Communities Treatment Alternatives.