Matrix: Criminal & Juvenile Justice Services

Programs and Activities

CMHS Targeted Capacity Expansion Jail Diversion Initiative



The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) has made available fiscal year 2002 and 2003 funds for programs to divert individuals with mental illness from the criminal justice system to mental health treatment and appropriate support services. These grants or cooperative agreements are made as part of the SAMHSA/CMHS Targeted Capacity Expansion (TCE) program. The title of this TCE program is Jail Diversion Programs.

The goals of this program are to:

(1) support community-based mental health services for individuals who have a mental illness or co-occurring disorders who are diverted from the criminal justice system;

(2) assure that jail diversion programs are based on the best known practices and reflect current research findings; (3) form and support interagency collaboration between the appropriate criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse systems;

(4) engage in policy analysis and development activities at a local level to promote implementation and sustenance of diversion activities; and

(5) use federal funds to supplement, and not supplant, State, local, Indian tribe, or tribal organization sources of funding that would otherwise be available.

The TCE Jail Diversion Program, based on the Public Health Service Act, section 520G, is coordinated with the Department of Justice's solicitation "Mental Health Court Grants Program," authorized in P.L. 106-515, Part V, Section 2201. The overall goal of this collaboration is to improve policy and practice for addressing the needs of persons with a mental illness or co-occurring disorders who become involved with the criminal justice system.

The TCE Jail Diversion Program consists of two types of awards: the Capacity Expansion Site Awards and the TAPA Center Award.

Jail Diversion Targeted Capacity Expansion Site Awards  

In fiscal year (FY) 2002, 10 grants were awarded to support programs that divert persons with mental illness from the criminal justice system to community mental health and supportive services (submission date: June 19, 2002).  Seven were added in FY 2003 and 3 more in FY 2004 for a total of 20 grants. 

Awards of no more than $300,000 in total costs (direct and indirect) were awarded per grant. Each Targeted Capacity Expansion Site is eligible to receive funding for up to 3 years. In addition, grantees must provide a non-federal share of 25 percent (includes cash or in-kind fairly evaluated).

Jail diversion grantees may plan programs for one or more points on the criminal justice processing spectrum, including pre-booking and post-booking programs. All funded diversion programs must refer the person to mental health community-based treatment providers. After initial referral to a mental health care provider, and subsequent to community-based screening and assessment by the provider, persons may be referred to other needed community-based services as specified in section 520G of the Public Health Service Act, 2002.  Jail diversion programs must build service capacity using four activity areas known to yield sustainable results:

(1) Expanding capacity to implement evidence-based services, through implementation of required interventions, as specified in section 520G of the Public Health Service Act (2002). This goal includes training for service providers to implement the required evidence-based services. The evidence-based services include:

  • Case management services
  • Assertive Community Treatment
  • Medication management and access
  • Integrated mental health and co-occurring substance use treatment
  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Life skills training
  • Housing placement
  • Vocational training
  • Education job placement
  • Health care
  • Gender-based services for women
  • Trauma-specific services

The program also aims to improve access to and quality of treatment to persons from racial/ethnic minorities and rural settings and fostering cultural competence.

(2) Creating service linkages between individuals and groups that serve the targeted population (mental health and substance abuse service providers and criminal justice system personnel). This includes:

  • developing partnerships and coalitions among mental health, substance abuse and criminal justice systems to increase systems integration
  • developing specific linkages among key personnel in each system.

(3) Undertaking community outreach to communicate to the larger community the importance of mental health and the capacity of the jail diversion program to serve people with mental illness. Required activities include:

  • building consensus among stakeholders and potential stakeholders for the adoption, implementation and evaluation of the jail diversion program
  • ensuring that services are available for the target population
  • ensuring that the community accepts the use of the services as beneficial.

(4) Engaging in program evaluation and dissemination to demonstrate program outcomes and the quality and completeness of services implementation. This includes:

  • collecting required Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) data
  • obtaining, at minimum, an 80 percent response rate at each data collection point
  • disseminating program findings, including relevant materials directed to consumers, service providers, administrators, and community, state, and federal policy makers who need this type of knowledge. (2)
The TAPA Center's role with respect to the SAMHSA/CMHS TCE jail diversion grantees

The TAPA Center was funded at the same time as the 2002 TCE jail diversion grantees, as a result of the same SAMHSA/CMHS funding solicitation. The TAPA Center serves as the coordinating center for the 17 CMHS TCE Jail Diversion Grantees and provides a number of services to them including:

  • Conducting site visits
  • Organizing and conducting an annual two-day meeting of all grantees
  • Assisting sites in planning, goal setting, and process evaluations
  • Coordinating a multi-site evaluation of all grantees, which includes, developing data collection instruments (including Government Performance Results Act data elements and other common data elements), conducting trainings, facilitating data collection and management, cleaning and analyzing data, coordinating site-specific evaluations, and producing reports
  • Providing technical assistance in all areas of program implementation and evaluation
  • Fostering and facilitating consumer involvement
  • Fostering and facilitating the development of gender-specific and trauma services