Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System: The Facts and Figures Justice Professionals Need to Know

Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System: The Facts and Figures Justice Professionals Need to Know
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2019-10-10
Unit 1Slide Deck: Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System
Unit 2Workbook: Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System
Unit 3Recording: Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System

Law enforcement officers find themselves dealing with people from all walks of life daily – and it includes people with mental health issues. These people might end up in jails and prisons – with the correction facility and staff playing the role of interim mental health provider. It is these interactions and procedures that drive the increasing number of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system.

To talk about this trend is Dr. Dan Phillips. He is works at Campbellsville University in Harrodsburg, Kentucky as the Regional Coordinator for Faculty Development and an instructor of Sociology and Criminal Justice. An expert in the intersection of mental health and criminal justice, he’s written for various publications, edited books, and conducted workshops in this area of specialty.

In this session, Dan will be providing a deep-dive on mental illnesses and its dynamics with the criminal justice system. Points discussed in this course include:

  • The most common mental health diagnoses that may be found in the criminal justice system.
  • An overview of how mental health and criminal justice intertwined and the events and trailblazers that shaped it to what it is today.
  • Understanding how law enforcement and corrections got involved with the mentally ill based on the nature of the job.
  • What Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) are, how it provides people suffering from mental issues dedicated support and treatment, and how it translates to financial savings and more importantly, careers and lives saved.
  • Facts and figures on:
    • Comparing the number of detainees classified to have mental illness and those who experienced serious psychological distress recently.
    • Suicide rates and trends in the US population and the jail population.
    • The segment of detainees that are seen to be likely to commit suicide.
  • Debunking myths about suicide and how it impacts people and society.
  • Best practices to employ in law enforcement agencies, corrections facilities, and CITs to better accommodate individuals suffering from mental health conditions.
  • Fostering working relationships and enhancing communication between the involved stakeholders to improve coordination and implementation of mental health-related initiatives.
  • The collaboration required between mental health providers, related agencies and institutions, and the community to provide holistic mental health treatment and care.
  • Dan addressed inquiries during the Q&A related to:
    • Reducing the number of mentally ill individuals in the criminal justice system.
    • The importance of addressing mental issues in juveniles immediately.
    • Mental health concerns for those working in law enforcement and corrections.
    • How telemedicine is being utilized in mental health treatments.
    • The reasons behind the rise in mental health illnesses and concerns in present times.


See Related NSA Article: Partners in Prayer (Nov/Dec 2018)


Audience Comments

  • “Overall, very informative.” — Amber
  • “I loved that he actually talked about the issue of the mental health centers decline and real-world issues surrounding the topic instead of just tiptoeing.” — Colette
  • “The data points were very valuable for my work, especially those regarding jails and jail suicide.” — David
  • “The most valuable part was the explanation of the differences between the different types of mental illnesses.” — Gail
  • “I needed a refresher course about the symptoms of different mental health disorders so that was very informative.” — Joan
  • “The understanding that all agencies need to work together to understand mental illness. Thank you!” — Kesica
  • “This presenter used a basic approach that was understandable and applicable to the real world. Thank you.” — Ned
  • “Daniel was so knowledgeable, and Cristina was absolutely on point. They are an excellent team!” — Leo



** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
Additional Resources
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