Cornyn, Klobuchar Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act Heads to President’s Desk
U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statements after their Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act, which would reauthorize critical grants for mental health courts, crisis intervention teams, and other programs that have helped law enforcement assist individuals experiencing mental illness for nearly two decades, passed the Senate and is now headed to the President’s desk:
“The mental health and crisis intervention programs funded by these important grants have made a difference in the lives of thousands,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I’m grateful to my House and Senate colleagues for working with me on this critical legislation to reauthorize these grants and give mental health courts and crisis intervention teams certainty that they can continue their life-saving work.”
“As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen firsthand how public safety is improved by collaboration between law enforcement and mental health providers,” said Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that we have the training and resources to address mental health issues at all stages of the justice system, from equipping law enforcement to effectively respond to mental health calls to facilitating smooth reentry into society.”
The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act would reauthorize the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) and make several improvements to provide grantees with greater options to respond and treat individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. The bill was led in the House by Reps. Bobby Scott (VA-3), Steve Chabot (OH-1), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Tom Emmer (MN-6), and would:
- Support mental health courts and veterans treatment programs;
- Support programs that offer specialized training for public safety officers and mental health providers;
- Support co-responder teams that deploy mental health professionals with law enforcement and allow a 24/7, 365 response capability;
- Enhance community capacity and linkage to care systems to ensure continuity of care and connection to mental health and substance use disorder crisis services;
- And allow jurisdictions to integrate suicide prevention programs in jails and detention facilities.
In 2004, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) created the JMHCP to help states and counties design and implement collaborative efforts between criminal justice and mental health systems. JMHCP grants have funded mental health courts and other court-based initiatives, diversion and deflection programs, crisis intervention teams, training for local police departments, and other programs to improve outcomes for people with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders who come into contact with the criminal justice system. JMHCP has provided a total of 568 grants to 49 states along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and American Samoa.
JMHCP was most recently reauthorized in 2016 as the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act, which was introduced by Sen. Cornyn. Provisions from this bill were signed into law as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.
The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act is supported by the National Criminal Justice Association, American Correctional Association, American Legion, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Mental Health America (MHA), Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA), National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), American Psychiatric Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, American Psychological Association, National Association of Counties (NACo), Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Sheriffs' Association, Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH), Correctional Leaders Association, American Jail Association, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities.