Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System

The best way to divert mentally ill people from the criminal justice system? Intervene early, said Mark Munetz, M.D., a professor and the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation Endowed Chair in Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University, at a panel discussion of the National Criminal Justice Forum in Philadelphia on Monday. 

The national conference was held to discuss strategies to address the escalating numbers of people with mental illness who are incarcerated or otherwise caught up in the criminal justice system. Dr. Munetz, who has been called ‘’a pioneer of crisis intervention research,’’ served on a panel that included Denise E. O'Donnell, director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); Lynn Overmann, a senior advisor to the White House who specializes in using data and technology to reduce the number of people with mental illness who are in the criminal justice system; and John Snook, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center.

Dr. Munetz discussed his Crisis Intervention Team training program, which has been used widely as a model to train law enforcement officers.

Read more in The Crime Report.

Photo by larryfarr at

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