Adapting Evidence-Based Practices for Persons With Mental Illness Involved With the Criminal Justice System

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The overrepresentation of persons with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system is well documented. As more communities attempt to offer appropriate evidence-based practices in diversion and reentry programs, a major issue that has become apparent is that adaptations to the standard practices are often required because of the legal predicaments faced by clients. The associated question is how extensive can adaptations be before fidelity to the proven practice is compromised. To better understand these pressing issues, the National GAINS Center for Evidence-Based Programs in the Justice System held a series of six meetings focused on evidence-based practices (assertive community treatment, housing, trauma interventions, supported employment, illness self-management and recovery, and integrated treatment) and their applicability for persons involved in the criminal justice system. This Open Forum integrates the results of those meetings and proposes future steps to establish relevant evidence-based practices that can influence both behavioral health and public safety outcomes for persons involved with the criminal justice system.

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