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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 21 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.

Legacy Drug Courts

Drug courts are specialized dockets that handle cases involving substance-abusing offenders through comprehensive supervision, drug and alcohol testing, treatment services and immediate sanctions and incentives. The majority of individuals participating in Ohio’s drug courts are heroin/opioid dependent.

Drug court programs have teams that are made up of:  probation officers, prosecutors, defense counsel, substance abuse treatment personnel, case personnel, schools, children services personnel and other ancillary service providers. The treatment team meets with the drug court judge to staff cases, provide updates and make recommendations based on participant performance. Drug court participants meet, as a group, and appear before the drug court judge at least twice monthly, while many participants appear weekly.


Circle for Recovery Ohio

The Circle for Recovery Programs (CFRO) are located in and administered by a total of nine Urban Minority Alcohol and Drug Addiction Outreach Programs (UMADAOPs) across the state of Ohio. The objective of the Circle for Recovery programs is to prevent relapse of chemical dependency and criminal recidivism among primarily African-American adult parolees. Relapse prevention services for the Circle of Recovery Programs include: employment/vocational training; GED/education; health education including AIDS/HIV/STD education; relationship education; peer support; violence prevention; and crisis intervention services.

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.

Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (TASC)
TASC's mission is to build a communications and offender management bridge between the criminal justice and treatment systems which have differing philosophies and objectives. TASC identifies chemically dependent offenders, provides assessments, and makes referrals for the most appropriate drug treatment. TASC programs also provide individual and group counseling. Other key functions include case management services, drug testing and assisting with the acquisition of ancillary services such as employment, housing and food.  TASC case managers work closely with judges, probation officers, jail administrators and treatment providers to provide effective and comprehensive programming. TASC assessments are frequently used in pre-sentence investigation reports to inform sentencing judges as to the need, as well as the level of care, for addiction treatment as needed as a condition of community control.
Therapeutic Communities

OhioMHAS provides funding to three Therapeutic Communities to treat offenders with substance abuse and mental health problems.  The Therapeutic Communities are located in Franklin, Greene and Cuyahoga Counties.

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)