Bipartisan Criminal Justice, Mental Health Bill Introduce in House and Senate

New bipartisan legislation would provide aid and resources to the intersection of our nation’s mental health treatment and criminal justice systems. The Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act would authorize $10 million in grants to communities to create collaborative programs involving justice agencies and community-based behavioral health providers, including Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). It would also create a national technical assistance center to serve communities around the country. The National Council has been working with the legislative offices responsible for introducing the bill, and thanks them for their leadership on this important issue.

The legislation is sponsored by: Representatives David Trone (D-MD), John Rutherford (R-FL), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) in the House and Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the Senate.

The Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act grants would support:

  • Community-level crisis response programs, including collaboratively designed crisis response services and technical support programs that promote medication adherence and continuity of care.
  • Targeted training programs related to medication adherence and continuity of care; including the purchase and use of long-acting antipsychotic medications to support adherence.
  • The examination of health care reimbursement challenges as they relate to medication adherence and continuity of care.
  • Strengthening local agency and provider capacity to reduce suicides during incarceration.
  • Establishing a national technical assistance center to support justice and mental health agencies, community behavioral health providers, CCBHCs, and other stakeholders in developing training and treatment approaches for justice-involved persons with mental illness, as well as payment strategies that promote best-practices with respect to care for this vulnerable group of persons.

“People coping with a mental health crisis and incarceration face a daunting path forward. The Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act addresses their challenges during incarceration and as they seek to reenter the community,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

“The bill ensures that people experiencing a mental health crisis receive appropriate care while in a correctional facility. That includes access to proper medication and additional training for law enforcement officers so they can address the needs of our most vulnerable individuals. The bill also calls for a warm handoff between law enforcement and community mental health clinics upon re-entry into the community to ensure the best possible start.”

The National Council thanks these legislators for their leadership in authoring and introducing this important legislation. Stay tuned to Capitol Connector for opportunities to support and urge cosponsorship of the Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act.

Guest Author

Michael Petruzzelli
Federal Policy & Advocacy