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The Commonwealth Consortium For Mental Health/Criminal Justice Transformation

State and national surveys show that 16 percent of all jail inmates have some form of mental illness. Findings also suggest that persons with mental illness are far too often subject to arrest and incarceration in Virginia for minor “nuisance” offenses related to their symptoms, and that many jail inmates with mental illness do not receive adequate mental health treatment in our jails, or when they return to the community. This lack of treatment access can lead to continuing acute illness or relapse, as well as engagement in criminal activity, including violent acts.

On January 28, 2008, Governor Timothy M. Kaine, signed Executive Order 62 which established the Commonwealth Consortium for Mental Health/Criminal Justice Transformation. On October 22, 2009, the Governor, signed Executive Order 98 (2009) which continues the Commonwealth Consortium for Mental Health/Criminal Justice Transformation through June 30, 2011.

The Consortium is tasked with the development of a comprehensive approach to address the challenging needs of individuals with mental illness in the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system. Under the leadership of the Secretaries of Health and Human Resources and Public Safety, the Consortium was developed to provide representation from the three branches of government, dozens of state agencies and statewide organizations, serving as partners, members and advisors to the Consortium.The Consortium has hosted two statewide meetings and seen the development of multiple programs and processes for creating positive systems change. Communities throughout Virginia have participated in local Cross Systems Mapping and Action Planning Workshops; there are dozens of localities participating in Crisis Intervention Team programs and over 1000 officers have completed the 40 hour CIT training; dozens of new criminal justice and mental health jail diversion and treatment initiatives are identifying, intervening and impacting people with behavioral health issues and enhancing systemic response to better utilize resources and improve individual outcomes.


On October 22, 2009, representatives from member organizations participated in day long Executive Leadership Meeting. Key goals of this meeting included providing updates on the work of the Consortium to date, consumer presentations, budget updates and planning breakout sessions for attendees. Key documents from this meeting, including the agenda, presentation powerpoints and breakout session notes can be accessed by clicking on the following links:


The first major training conference of the Consortium, the Governor's Conference for Mental Health and Criminal Justice Transformation, was held May 13 - 14, 2008, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Click here for agenda information (pdf).  A key goal of the conference was to assist localities with initiating or furthering their community planning for jail diversion and improved services for individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system.

Each Virginia community services board worked jointly with the community criminal justice board and community corrections office in their locality to select a team of representatives to attend the training. Each team could have included: a General District Court judge, a commonwealth’s attorney, a public defender or indigent defense counsel, the jail superintendent or sheriff, the locality’s chief of police (in localities with police and sheriff’s departments), the local community corrections director, and the CSB Executive Director.



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