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Forensic Peer Specialists: An Emerging Workforce, Center for Behavioral health Services and Criminal Justice Research

The delivery of effective and appropriate services to individuals with psychiatric disabilities who have been involved with the criminal justice system continues to pose significant challenges to both the mental health and criminal justice systems. Programmatic initiatives have focused on either early diversion from the criminal justice system or reducing rates of recidivism. Jail diversion efforts, for instance, have used mental health courts and drug courts to reduce or slow the entry of people with behavioral health issues into jails and prisons, and there is a renewed emphasis on training local police officers to better manage their interactions with individuals with troubling behaviors.On the other hand, a new generation of reentry programming — and dollars — has sought to meet the complex needs of those released to the community with little planning, preparation, or effective community programming.

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