Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Establishing a Mental Health Clinic for Criminal Justice-involved Individuals

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

April 15, 2013








Responding to the comprehensive treatment needs of criminal justice-involved individuals with mental illness is a major challenge for both criminal justice and mental health officials.

Individuals with mental health diagnoses are admitted to jail more frequently than people without mental illnesses for the same offenses, and nearly half of people with mental illness who are incarcerated return to jail within a year. Of youth held in New York State detention, 54% have mental illnesses, 63% have substance use disorders, and 54% have physical health disorders. Many New York City mental health clinics have long waiting lists for treatment and little or no experience serving individuals involved with the criminal justice system. The Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES) is a nonprofit provider of alternative sentencing programs for court-involved individuals in New York City. With funding from NYSHealth, CASES opened the first mental health clinic in New York State that is specifically designed to meet the needs of youth and adults involved with the criminal justice system.

Under this grant, CASES developed the clinic’s unified care treatment model, conducted outreach to criminal justice referral sources, implemented operations, and evaluated service components and client outcomes. The CASES clinic expects to serve 400 clients annually when it reaches capacity in early 2015. CASES’s goals include increasing opportunities for criminal justice-involved individuals with mental illness to receive effective mental health treatment; improving pathways to wellness and recovery, as well as health and public safety outcomes, by developing access to unified care; and reducing psychiatric, substance-related, medical, and behavioral crises and associated use of hospitals, emergency rooms, and jails. To support replication, CASES disseminated best practices in integrated clinical mental health treatment and criminal justice-competent services to county and State agencies. CASES also developed a program brief describing the program’s background, services, outcomes, lessons learned, and emerging principles for the operation of a mental health clinic focused on justice-involved individuals with mental illness.