Court programs

Effective justice strategies

Criminal Justice Mental Health Leadership Initiative

Wisconsin is one of four states selected in 2008-2009 by the Council of State Governments (CSG) to participate in the Criminal Justice Mental Health Leadership Initiative, a project designed at improving the criminal justice's response to people with mental illness.  

In March 2010, Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson convened a statewide task force representing diverse stakeholders and policymakers in both the criminal justice and mental health systems.

Charge of the task force

The charge of the Task Force Initiative on Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System is to develop a best practices model of evidence-based, cost-effective intervention processes that can be implemented early in an effort to improve responses to persons with mental illnesses.

Report of the task force

The Chief Justice's Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Health issued its September 2010 report documenting existing programs and initiatives throughout the state, detailing gaps in the criminal justice and mental health systems, and making recommendations for improving our responses to persons with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system.  

Chief Justice's Task Force Report on Criminal Justice and Mental Health (September 2010) Adobe PDF

The report is a culmination of the efforts and contributions of an 80-member statewide task force representing diverse stakeholders and policymakers. The Task Force will continue to work with the report and focus on implementation of some of the initiatives highlighted in the report. The Task Force intends to keep the report current by adding new programs and updating contact information. Chief Justice Abrahamson will convene a small committee of interested persons to focus on the implementation of some of the initiatives highlighted in the report. If you are interested in participating in this committee please e-mail us.

The Task Force partnered with the Wisconsin Court System's Office of Judicial Education in 2012 to provide a judicial training session. Read Chief Justice Abrahamson's column Wisconsin court system taking smarter approach to mental health issues Adobe PDF for details.

Resources

The Council of State Governments Justice Center (external link) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving all elected and appointed state government officials. The Council of State Governments Justice Center coordinated the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project, which is a national effort to assist criminal justice and mental health professionals improve the response to people with mental illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system. The Consensus Project Report (external link) was released in June 2002. Council of State Governments Justice Center, 100 Wall Street 20th Floor, New York, New York 10005; phone: (212) 482-2320; fax: (212) 482-2344.

Justice Center resources Adobe PDF

Criminal Justice/Mental Health Online Resources Adobe PDF

Bureau of Justice Assistance Program: Mental Health and the Justice System (external link)

For more information about the Criminal Justice Mental Health Task Force contact Theresa Owens at (608) 261-8297.

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