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Mental Health Professionals’ Guide to Their Role in the Criminal Justice System

A Quick Reference Pocket Guide for Mental Health Professionals

American Psychiatric Association Foundation

  • 2022
  • 44 Pages
  • ISBN 978-0-89042-485-8
  • Item #2485

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The American Psychiatric Association Foundation has produced a new resource to help mental health professionals better support community members facing mental health challenges, Mental Health Professionals Guide to Their Role in the Criminal Justice System: A Quick Reference Pocket Guide for Mental Health Professionals. The resource is the culmination of work from a collaboration of psychiatrists and justice leaders.

Community members with serious mental illnesses become entangled in the criminal justice system far too often. Once there, these individuals can suffer more harm and be retraumatized by spending more time in the pretrial stage. As a mental health professional, you have an important role in supporting these individuals and ensuring they continue to receive treatment and stay connected to services.

The Guide includes an overview of the criminal justice system and specific roles mental health professionals can play in supporting community members at different stages of the system. We want to provide everyone that reads this guide with the tools necessary to reclaim your community members from the criminal justice system.

Visit APA Foundation at to find free resources.


  • Purpose of This Guide
  • How Do So Many Individuals with Mental Illness Become Involved in the Criminal Justice System?
  • What is the Sequential Intercept Model?
  • Intercept 0
  • Intercept 1
  • Intercept 2
  • Intercept 3
  • Intercept 4
  • Intercept 5
  • What is the Criminal Justice System?
  • What are Problem Solving Courts?
  • Who Disproportionately Bears Unfair Treatment from Criminal System?
  • How Do We Advocate for Change?
  • Glossary of Criminal Justice Terms


    Mental Health Professionals' Guide to Their Role in the Criminal Justice System has been made possible through the expertise, time, and efforts of experts from across the behavioral health and criminal justice fields. The American Psychiatric Association Foundation would like to extend its deepest gratitude to our workgroup members:

    Lama Bazzi, MD, MRO, FAPA, Adult and Forensic Psychiatrist
    Michael Champion, MD, Medical Director, Adult Mental Health Division, Hawaii
    Christopher Chun-Seeley, MSW, Program Director, School and Justice, APA Foundation
    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery, MPH, Program Manager, School and Justice, APA Foundation
    Honorable Judge Steven Leifman, Miami-Dade County, 11th Judicial Circuity of Florida
    Stephanie LeMelle, MD, MS, Director Public Psychiatry, Columbia University Dept. of Psychiatry
    Magistrate Robert V. Morris II, Judge, Franklin County Probate Court
    Shannon Scully, Senior Manager, Criminal Justice Policy, National Alliance on Mental Illness
    Retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton
    John Tilley, Psy.D., MSCP, ABPP, Forensic Psychologist, Partner - Forum Ohio
    Sarah Vinson, MD, C/A, Adult, and Forensic Psychiatrist, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Morehouse School of Medicine

About the Authors

The American Psychiatric Association Foundation, the philanthropic and educational arm of the American Psychiatric Association, works to create a mentally healthy nation by advancing mental health, overcoming mental illness, and eliminating stigma. The Foundation combines the knowledge and credibility of the world's largest psychiatric organization with its patient and family-centered mission.

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