GAINS Center Releases New Re-Entry Guidelines for those with Behavioral Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation has released its Guidelines for the Successful Transition of People with Behavioral Health Disorders from Jail and Prison. These guidelines are designed to foster cross sector partnerships between the criminal justice and behavioral health systems that are necessary to promote successful re-entry planning and support services for those with behavioral health disorders returning to their communities from jails and/or prisons. This document, developed by the GAINS Center in collaboration with the Council of State Governments Justice Center, SAMHSA, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), encourages a coordinated approach toward reducing recidivism and advancing recovery for this population. The Guidelines utilize the APIC model as a cornerstone to guide evidence-based transition planning, which trains providers to engage in the following activities when working with this population:

  1. Assess the individual’s clinical and social needs, and public safety risks;
  2. Plan for the treatment and services required to address the individual’s needs;
  3. Identify required community and correctional programs responsible for post-release services; and
  4. Coordinate the transition plan to ensure implementation and avoid gaps in care with community-based services.

By utilizing the principles presented in the Guidelines, policy makers and providers alike can promote and engage in successful transition planning and reentry practices for individuals with behavioral health disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system. For more information, see the following resources on the GAINS Center website:

  • The complete Guidelines document here.
  • A summary document that distills the Guidelines in an easy to read, short format here.
  • Slides from a webinar, hosted by the GAINS Center, which introduced these Guidelines and discussed their application within communities here.