Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training for Officers Considered a Best Practice in Law Enforcement

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  PfCJR advocates for the decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders.  Will you JOIN us?


As persons with mental illnesses and law enforcement become increasingly entangled, the collaboration of police and mental health service providers has become critical to appropriately serving the needs of individuals experiencing mental health crises. This article introduces the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Model as a collaborative approach to safely and effectively address the needs of persons with mental illnesses, link them to appropriate services, and divert them from the criminal justice system if appropriate. We discuss the key elements of the CIT model, implementation and its related challenges, as well as variations of the model. While this model has not undergone enough research to be deemed an Evidence-Based Practice, it has been successfully utilized in many law enforcement agencies worldwide and is considered a “Best Practice” model in law enforcement. This primer for mental health practitioners serves as an introduction to a model that may already be utilized in their community or serve as a springboard for the development CIT programs where they do not currently exist.  Click here to read the full study:

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Multisystemic Therapy Consistently Demonstrates Positive Outcomes for Chronic Juvenile Offenders

PfCJR CORE ISSUE:  PfCJR advocates for reform of the juvenile justice system to identify and divert at risk adolescents.  Will you JOIN us?

MST is an internationally recognized program for at-risk youth and their families. For more than 30 years, MST has

consistently demonstrated positive outcomes with chronic juvenile offenders. Based on the program’s success,

rigorous randomized trials were conducted to explore the feasibility and effects of adaptations of MST with other target

populations. Results have been positive for treating problem sexual behavior, child abuse and neglect, substance abuse,

serious emotional disturbances and chronic health care conditions. This document highlights the many areas of MST

research and proven outcomes with traditional MST and MST clinical adaptations as well as research on the transport of

MST to community practice settings.


Re-Examining Juvenile Incarceration

PfCJR CORE ISSUE:  Reform of the juvenile justice system to identify and divert at risk adolescents.


A growing body of research demonstrates that for many juvenile offenders, lengthy out-of-home placements in secure corrections or other residential facilities fail to produce better outcomes than alternative sanctions. In certain instances, they can be counterproductive. Seeking to reduce recidivism and achieve better returns on their juvenile justice spending, several states have recently enacted laws that limit which youth can be committed to these facilities and moderates the length of time they can spend there. These changes prioritize the use of costly facilities and intensive programming for serious offenders who present a higher risk of reoffending, while supporting effective community-based programs for others.

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Patient Safety: Moving the Bar in Prison Health Care Standards

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE: Provision of adequate access to physical and psychiatric health care for current inmates.


Improvements in community health care quality through error reduction have been slow to transfer to correctional settings. We convened a panel of correctional experts, which recommended 60 patient safety standards focusing on such issues as creating safety cultures at organizational, supervisory, and staff levels through changes to policy and training and by ensuring staff competency, reducing medication errors, encouraging the seamless transfer of information between and within practice settings, and developing mechanisms to detect errors or near misses and to shift the emphasis from blaming staff to fixing systems. To our knowledge, this is the first published set of standards focusing on patient safety in prisons, adapted from the emerging literature on quality improvement in the community.

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Human Rights Watch Report

Human Rights PfCJR CORE ISSUE:  Provision of adequate access to physical and psychiatric health care for current inmates. Human Rights Watch has issued a 127-page investigative report that describes the use of excessive force by the criminal justice system in America. The report, “Callous and Cruel: Use of Force Against Inmates With Mental Disabilities in US Jails and Prisons,” charges that, “Jails and prisons staff throughout the United States have used unnecessary, excessive and even malicious force against prisoners with mental disabilities.”