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Intercept 3: Jails/Courts

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During Intercept 3, people with mental and substance use disorders who have not yet been diverted at earlier intercepts may be held in pretrial detention at a local jail while awaiting the disposition of their criminal cases.

Intercept 3 Overview

  • Involves people with mental and substance use disorders who are held in jail before and during their trials.
  • Includes court-based diversion programs that allow the criminal charge to be resolved while taking care of the defendant’s behavioral health needs in the community.
  • Includes services that prevent the worsening of a person’s mental or substance use symptoms during their incarceration.

Key Elements for Diversion at Intercept 3

  • Treatment courts for high-risk/high-need individuals work within the legal process to help treat the root causes of justice involvement. These programs provide services through a pre-plea or post-plea process. They may include drug courts, mental health courts, Driving While Impaired (DWI) courts, veterans’ courts, and others.
  • Alternatives to prosecution programming. Some people may not need an intensive treatment court but still would benefit from services in the community. For these people, alternatives to prosecution programs, where a charge may be placed “on hold” and then dismissed when a person completes the program, may meet their needs. Programs that require clients to pay a fee or restitution prior to participation should ensure that this does not result in negative consequences or unfair impacts among people with fewer resources.
  • Jail-based programming and health care services. Jail health care providers are required to provide medical and behavioral health services to people who are detained and need treatment. Trauma-informed and evidence-based spaces and programs for people with mental and substance use disorders help ensure that a jail stay does not worsen a person’s illness. Jails can also use suicide prevention plans and procedures to prevent suicide among people with and without known mental health concerns.
  • Partnerships with community-based providers of mental health and substance use treatment. When jails partner with community-based providers, they can increase the number of treatments and services that people can access during their detention. This can also help build relationships between patients and providers, making it more likely that the person will feel comfortable with continuing services after they are released from jail. These “in-reach” services can also help identify people with mental and substance use disorders who may be better placed in community-based or inpatient treatment.
  • Mental health jail liaisons or diversion clinicians. It takes a lot of work to figure out what community-based resources are available for people with mental and substance use disorders. Because of this, many of these people are not connected with important services. Mental health jail liaisons and diversion clinicians can help make these connections. They can also provide another layer of treatment or programs in addition to the services delivered by the jail treatment provider.
  • Collaboration with Veterans Justice Outreach. Collaborations between Veterans Justice Outreach specialists, behavioral health specialists, and local justice system partners strengthen timely access to diversion resources and services for justice-involved veterans.

Local Examples at Intercept 3

  • Multnomah County District Attorney Mental Health Court (OR)
  • This is a post-plea treatment court. It places participants with a qualifying mental health diagnosis on supervised or unsupervised probation. It also pairs them with a Mental Health Court Monitor to address needs related to housing, medication, treatment, and transportation.
  • Community Mental Health Liaison (CMHL) Program (MO)
    This statewide initiative provides 31 Community Mental Health Liaisons to deliver a variety of services to law enforcement and the courts. These include identifying and assisting people with mental illness, improving coordination of care, and providing cross-system trainings.

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