Exterior of the Nevada Parole and Probation headquarters in Las Vegas

The Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) returns to Nevada this month for a second round of training focused on supporting people with behavioral health needs and disabilities. Nevada Parole and Probation invited CJI back to the state to continue implementation of the new curriculum.

People with behavioral health needs are overrepresented in Nevada’s justice system, as is the case nationally. Research shows that they are at risk for a host of poor outcomes within the justice system, including longer incarceration stays and more frequent disciplinary infractions. Incarceration may also disrupt essential services and support, such as treatment, employment, and housing.

Nevada’s efforts at the intersection of behavioral health and the justice system serve as a promising model for states around the country.” – CJI Director of Justice Initiatives Barbara Pierce

CJI’s curriculum trains community supervision officers to recognize and effectively respond to behavioral health issues, and, in turn, helps the people they supervise succeed in the community. Through this hands-on training, officers learn strategies for effective interaction and then practice through a series of scenario-based activities. This training is part of a series of courses that include effective case management and trauma-informed care. CJI uses a “train-the-trainer” model to teach staff who have completed the courses how to train colleagues, to ensure the agency is able to independently sustain learning efforts.

“We are thrilled to partner with Nevada Parole and Probation to advance innovative practices and provide tools for supervision officers to more effectively respond to the needs of people on supervision,” said Barbara Pierce, CJI Director of Justice Initiatives. “Nevada’s efforts at the intersection of behavioral health and the justice system serve as a promising model for states around the country.”

CJI created these trainings to assist with implementation of requirements from Assembly Bill 236 (AB236), Nevada’s 2019 landmark justice reform legislation. These requirements were enacted by State leaders in response to findings by Nevada’s Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice on the growing number of people with behavioral health needs in the justice system. As just one example, more than half of all women entering Nevada’s prisons in 2017 had identified mental health needs.

CJI supported Nevada leaders in developing policy and practice solutions reflected in AB 236 as part of the state’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative effort and provided technical assistance for the implementation process. CJI’s work and partnership with the state on these efforts was funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). BJA is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.

For more information on CJI’s training offerings, contact Valerie Meade, Deputy Director, at vmeade@cjinstitute.org.