WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Tom Emmer (MN-06), Bobby Scott (VA-03), Steve Chabot (OH-01), and Sheila Jackson Lee (TX- 18) introduced the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act.
The legislation would reauthorize for five years the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP), a critically important grant program that allows states and localities to develop programming that connects those with mental illness and substance abuse issues with evidence-based and comprehensive treatment within the criminal justice system. Among the reforms in the bill are the centering of suicide prevention as a key goal of the program, increasing access to case management services, bolstering the roles of co-responder and crisis intervention teams, training law enforcement, and continuing strong support of mental health courts.
“Our law enforcement officers are often the first to respond during a mental health or substance abuse crisis,” said Congressman Emmer. “We must ensure they have the resources they need to provide appropriate, compassionate intervention to some of the most vulnerable among us. I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to offer them the best possible tools in our fight against mental illness.”
“These grants take a comprehensive approach to criminal justice reform by encouraging collaboration between law enforcement and health care providers,” said Congressman Scott. “I am grateful for the bipartisan support of my colleagues as we remain committed to ensuring these critical resources remain intact.”
“Too often, when our Law Enforcement Officers encounter an individual facing mental health challenges, they lack the resources needed to deescalate the situation,” said Congressman Chabot. By helping states to take proactive steps such as developing law enforcement training and crisis intervention programs, this important bipartisan legislation will continue to better prepare law enforcement, improve outcomes and help ensure those who need treatment get the assistance they need.”
“Providing treatment and supportive services to people with mental health issues and substance abuse problems is an important element of a comprehensive strategy for the reduction of crime and helping would-be criminals toward a constructive life path,” Congresswoman Jackson Lee explained. “This bill is especially important as a catalyst for interventions benefitting youth – especially in urban and minority populations – who suffer greatly in our criminal justice system and are frequently treated unfairly. I am pleased that this bipartisan legislation will reauthorize and revitalize this remarkable grant program that provides mental health services through an intergovernmental partnership, and ultimately, helps our communities become safer.”
The grants authorized through JMHCP have been awarded to 49 states and the District of Columbia. Grants may be used for a broad range of activities to meet a community’s needs. This includes:
- Universal mental health screening and assessment in jail
- Mental health and substance use treatment
- Mental Health Courts
- Cross-training criminal justice and mental health personnel
- Reentry services
For a one-pager on the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act please CLICK HERE.
For the full bill text of the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act, please CLICK HERE.
Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).