About the GAINS Center

The GAINS Center helps to expand community services for adults who are in the criminal justice system and experiencing a mental and/or substance use disorder.

The GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation provides technical assistance and support to the following:

  • Professionals working in the fields of behavioral health and criminal justice
  • Communities across the country who are working to achieve integrated systems of mental health and substance use services
  • Several SAMHSA grant programs and grantees

The GAINS Center provides information and skills training to help individuals and organizations at the local, state, regional, and national levels implement effective, integrated programming that will transform the criminal justice and behavioral health systems.

The GAINS Model

The GAINS model was developed when the center was first established and is still at the heart of the center today. The model includes the following core strategies:

  • Gather: Screen for and collect new research findings and best practices
  • Assess: Synthesize this information into appropriate and targeted communication for various types of users
  • Integrate: Organize facilitated learning and follow through
  • Network: Build and strengthen networks and infrastructure
  • Stimulate: Identify and use the most cost-effective ways of achieving significant results

For the past several years, the GAINS Center has focused on:

  • Creating a trauma-informed criminal justice system workforce
  • Applying science to services
  • Promoting the use of evidence-based practices in program development
  • Developing trauma-informed systems

To accomplish these goals, the center uses newsletters, publications, virtual and in-person meetings, trainings, workshops, and conferences.

Policy Academies

The GAINS Center holds annual Policy Academies focused on both adult criminal justice and juvenile justice populations. Many of these programs work with tribes and tribal leadership to increase their nations' capacity to integrate mental and/or substance use services in the court systems.

A public-private partnership between SAMHSA and the MacArthur Foundation supports the juvenile-justice-focused Policy Academies.

Last Updated: 08/19/2015