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Criminal justice and behavioral health system collaboration
The interface between the behavioral health and criminal justice systems is significant. The increased involvement of people with mental illness or addiction disorders in the criminal justice system has become a serious problem. Law enforcement, courts, jails and prisons have joined with consumers and family members in addressing this troublesome situation. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) collaborates with these constituencies to identify issues and seek solutions. For example, as a result of OhioMHAS partnerships with county authorities, many individuals incarcerated in jails have connected with clinical treatment and/or pre-release care coordination services so they would be more likely to make positive life changes.
Addiction Treatment Program
Launched in 2014 as part of Ohio’s multi-pronged strategy to fight prescription painkiller and heroin abuse, the Addiction Treatment Program (ATP) has contributed to a decrease in drug use and criminal activity, and an increase in stable housing and employment among program participants. Legislators charged OhioMHAS to work with the Supreme Court of Ohio, other state agencies and certified drug courts in specific counties to develop a program to provide addiction treatment, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), to non-violent adult offenders with a dependence on opioids, alcohol, or both. Currently, specialty-docket drug courts in 13 counties are included in the program.
Community Innovations
The Community Innovations initiative links non-violent offenders with community-based behavioral health services. It encourages communities in Ohio to forge collaborative relationships between the behavioral health and criminal justice systems so that individuals with mental illness and/or alcohol and other drug addiction receive the care they need. This, in turn, helps to reduce recidivism, increase public safety and minimize harm to those who come in contact with law enforcement.
Community Linkage
Community Linkage connects offenders with severe mental illnesses to community mental health services upon release from state prisons or youth facilities. OhioMHAS employs Community Linkage Social Worker (CLSW) staff who work with adult offenders in Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) prisons and youthful offenders at Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS) facilities. They provide qualifying offenders with appointments and referrals to supports that promote successful re-integration into the community after discharge. This includes connections to supports such as housing and health care services, or help in applying for Social Security or Medicaid benefits.
Specialized Dockets

In response to the Ohio’s heroin and opioid epidemic, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) created the Specialized Dockets Payroll Subsidy Project to assist drug courts and other specialized docket programs with funding to effectively manage offenders in the community, thereby reducing commitments to the state prison system. Specialized docket programs that target addicted parents charged with abuse/neglect/dependency of their minor children were also eligible for funding.

Other resources

The Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence promotes the Sequential Intercept Model, to assist communities in systematically approaching efforts to divert people with mental disorders from unnecessary arrest and incarceration.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Reentry Website contains resources and information provided to offenders as they prepare for release.

The GAINS Center focusess on expanding access within the justice system of community-based services for adults diagnosed with co-occuring mental illness and substance use disorders.

Notification Form for Records Check (Under ORC 5122.311) (Rev 4/01/04)