Social Work in Criminal Legal Settings

Active grants

The Social Work in Criminal Legal Settings research area aims to provide communities, organizations, and behavioral health and law enforcement agencies with expertise, evaluation, support, training, and technical assistance to optimize diversion of individuals from jail and prison through the implementation of best and innovative practices at every intercept of the criminal justice continuum (SSW Center for Behavioral Health & Justice). Topics include jail diversion, recidivism, treatment of individuals who are incarcerated, and juvenile justice.


Battle Creek Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) and Kids Reaching Excellence Services Team (KREST) Evaluation

Principal Investigator: Sheryl Kubiak

Grant funder: U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

The City of Battle Creek Police Department (BCPD) applied for and received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. The proposal was developed collaboratively between BCPD, Summit Pointe, and Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) focuses on two primary goals: 1) the expansion of law enforcement Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and 2) the enhancement of interventions for the highest-risk teen juveniles in the Battle Creek Public Schools utilizing the KREST (Kids Reaching Excellence Services Team) model. This proposal presents two hypotheses. First, that an increased number and saturation rates of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officers will result in increased use of CIT forms and referral rates to community mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring treatment. Second, that increased numbers of juveniles engaged in case coordination will lower probation violation rates among program participants. Additionally, community partners will benefit from shared system knowledge and create sustainable efficiencies through collaborative programming.


Bureau of Justice Assistance Project Evaluation - Washtenaw County

Principal Investigator: Sheryl Kubiak

Grant funder: U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance Innovations in Reentry Initiatives Program

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) applied for and received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance Innovations in Reentry Initiatives Program. The grant will focus on two broad goals: 1) General system improvements. The WCSO and other county agency leaders, via a newly formed task force, will begin to execute system changes as identified in the initial planning phase. Proposed funding will increase the number of individuals served and expand of the level of care given to individuals served. It is hypothesized that re-entry service expansion will result in the following outcomes: Reduction of the number and rate of people entering the Washtenaw County Jail on technical violations; and Reduction of recidivism, measured by number of arrests and length of time between release and next arrest. 2) Demonstration project. A new program will target individuals who are assessed as having a medium to high risk of recidivism through validated, evidence-based screening tools. The project will focus on those who screen positive for homelessness or housing insecurity, mental health needs, and/or substance use disorder needs. The project will include an intervention through enhanced case management and the use of supportive housing to reduce recidivism. The Washtenaw Housing Authority (WHA) is currently planning various housing opportunities where funding is needed to initiate plans and support a supportive housing model. The program will serve a minimum of 150 individuals over the course of two years.

In accordance with the "Bureau of Justice Assistance JMHC Program Performance Measures," WCSO will partner and contract with Wayne State University School of Social Work Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (WSU) to conduct an independent evaluation of the above goals.

The WSU evaluation team will compile a comprehensive evaluation report which will include a narrative of findings and tabular presentations of report findings and results. Activities: Conduct face-to-face meetings with key stakeholders involved in the implementation of all stated goals to examine.


Community of Practice for Mitigating COVID-19 in Jails

Principal Investigator: Brad Ray

Grant funder: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)         

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) at the Wayne State University School of Social Work envisions communities in which research, data, and best practices are used by multiple stakeholders to enhance the optimal well-being of individuals with mental illness and/or substance use disorders who come into contact with the criminal/legal system. CBHJ staff are involved in a number of research and technical assistance engagements with community stakeholders across Michigan and Indiana. Through these engagements, project coordinators facilitate meetings, discussions, troubleshoot topics, and coordinate technical assistance but also translate evidence-based best practices to stakeholders and communities, as these practices emerge. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic the CBHJ has been working with key stakeholders across Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan to implement mitigation procedures in the county-jail. This resulted in an online toolkit on how best to adapt and implement current state and CDC guidelines (see here). In this project we hope to scale the knowledge gained in Detroit—which was hit particularly hard and early by COVID-19 pandemic resulting in several deaths among the jail staff and families—to the rest of the nation by hosting Community of Practice events.


Evaluation of the Allen County Substance Abuse Pilot Program

Principal Investigator: Brad Ray

Grant funder: The Lutheran Foundation

Dr. Brad Ray and researchers the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) at Wayne State will partner to evaluate the Allen County Substance Abuse Pilot Program which was created through Senate Enrolled Act 510-2017 (hereafter referred to as the "510 Program"). The 510 Program is a four (4) year program which by design will assist a participant in overcoming their substance abuse, by giving them evidence-based treatment and by assisting them with developing sober living long term. Eligible participants for this pilot program must be at least eighteen (18) years of age, must be charged with a felony offense in Allen County Indiana and must be under the court ordered supervision of Allen County Community Corrections, Allen Superior Court Criminal Division Services and/or Allen County Adult Probation. Participants must be determined to have a significant substance use disorder as outlined in the DSM-5 and must have been previously unable to stay sober. These criminal justice referrals may come from the agencies listed above in Allen County as well as the county problem-solving courts which includes a drug court, mental health court, veteran's courts, and a re-entry court. Participants will primarily be identified through the Allen County Treatment Marketplace which links clients to a variety of services and risk-informed interventions addressing addictions, criminal cognition, and mental illness and is also designed to facilitate a convenient connection to Recovery Works-qualifying services. It is effectively a one-stop treatment/intervention connection for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. The proposed treatment will for the Senate Enrolled Act 510-2017 will be delivered by Park Center and other treatment providers who will adhere to The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria for levels 3.5 and 3.1. Additionally, recovery residences will be included with a number of additional services intended to promote recovery and reduce the imminent risk of relapse.


HealthWest Muskegon County BJA Evaluation

Principal Investigator: Sheryl Kubiak

Grant funder: U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

In collaboration with the Muskegon County Diversion Council (MCDC), HealthWest applied for and received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. The proposal was developed collaboratively with multiple community stakeholders on the MCDC including Muskegon County Sheriff's Office and the Muskegon County Jail with a goal of funding obtaining start-up financial support to implement MCDC strategies. As such the grant will focus on six goals: 1) to provide Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training to criminal justice, mental health, and substance use treatment personnel to decrease the number of people entering the jail with MI/SA/CMISA; 2) to improve screening, assessment, and information sharing processes among criminal justice and treatment providers following a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model; 3) to develop specialized caseloads and services for persons held on pretrial detention or who have been sentenced to jail; 4) improve case management and service coordination for persons booked or housed at the jail through the use of Community Health Workers; 5) to improve information sharing between criminal justice stakeholders through shared screenings and assessments and integrated reporting; and 6) to improve response to persons with opioid use disorders through education and the provision of Narcan upon jail release and referral to out patient opioid treatment providers. The proposal hypothesized that additional clinical staffing within the jail (sited in Goal #4 above) will increase the number of people receiving both in-jail and post-release MI/SA/CMISA services by 50% and decrease the average time to first in-jail and post-release MI/SA/CMISA services by one week. In addition, CIT training (sited in Goal #1 above) will increase the number of CIT-trained officers by 45 and decrease the prevalence rates of people entering the jail with MI/SA/CMISA on misdemeanor offenses by 25%.


Juvenile Justice Risk Assessment Process and Outcome Evaluation

Principal Investigator: Sheryl Kubiak

Grant funder: Hudson Webber Foundation

Wayne County has been known as an innovator in juvenile justice services since they launched a managed care model of juvenile justice in 2000. Now twenty years later, they are reviewing the system for additional improvements that can be made in order to provide the "best justice system possible" for the youth served by the Third Judicial Circuit Court and the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness. Through a series of facilitated meetings and a review of evidence-based program research facilitated by the Wayne State University School of Social Work Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ), the Court and the County have decided to launch two significant changes to the current juvenile justice system. The first change is to complete a juvenile risk assessment at the front-end of the justice process, after a petition has been filed, but prior to adjudication. The second is to assign defense counsel to qualifying juveniles earlier in the court process, and to provide defense counsel with the results of the risk and needs assessment in order to better inform case processing and defense strategy.


Juvenile Justice Risk Assessment Process and Outcome Evaluation: A Proposal by the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice For McGregor Foundation

Principal Investigator: Sheryl Kubiak

Grant funder: McGregor Fund

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) at the Wayne State University School of Social Work, along with the Wayne County Third Circuit Court in collaboration with the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness will conduct an evaluation of the implementation, process and outcomes related to three significant changes that the Court is making to the front end of the juvenile justice process.


Michigan Overdose Data to Action - Integration with Correctional Facilities

Principal Investigator: Brad Ray

Collaborating: Erin Comartin

Grant funder: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)

The nexus of criminal justice and community-based treatment has substantial capacity for mitigating the effects of the overdose crisis. With the SAMHSA State Opioid Response funds, the MDHHS has provided millions to help expand treatment into correctional settings in Michigan. This has included funding to the Michigan Opioid Partnership, and in turn the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University, who has developed the Opioid Treatment Ecosystem Initiative (OTE). The OTE is a technical assistance framework aimed at strengthening community-based substance use disorder (SUD) treatment at the intersection of criminal-legal systems. For opioid use disorder (OUD), no treatment has stronger evidence supporting its efficacy than medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), which includes methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Key to this is the implementation of MOUD in county jail, but the OTE initiative also aims to expand treatment ecosystems prior to and following incarceration. As part of the Michigan Overdose Data to Action we are proposing two strategies that build on this treatment ecosystem approach. The first is to integrate fatal and nonfatal overdose data with local county level jail management information system data to better understand the impact of MOUD expansion into county jails. The second is to improve post-exit ecosystems by providing harm reduction training to peer recovery coaches working in criminal-legal settings.


MOP Wayne OTE Evaluation and Data Collection

Principal Investigator: Brad Ray

Grant funder: Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice will provide evaluation and data collection services to the Detroit Integrated Health Network. The evaluation will include reporting on number of RODS administered, number of RODS scored (positives; but also include # of those refused), number of books, number of County residents, and number of County residents who received referrals.


Outcomes and Costs from a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Co-Response Police Model

Principal Investigator: Brad Ray

Grant funder: Arnold Ventures

One out of every ten police-citizen encounters involves a person with a mental health condition. In most encounters, police act as "street-corner psychiatrists" who quell disorder. However, given the confluence of issues often facing this population, officers are still more likely to use force and make an arrest during these encounters. Between 12% and 34% of all persons in the justice system have a co-occurring disorder and the difficulties engaging with this population have only been exacerbated within the context of the recent opioid crisis in the United States. More than ever police responses can be a critical lifesaving point in the outcome of a mental health or substance abuse crisis. The most popular type of intervention for this population has been training police officers to recognize and deescalate crisis situations, namely crisis intervention training (CIT). While research suggests CIT can improve officer attitudes, it is less likely to influence behaviors. The "co-responder model" has surfaced as an alternative approach to CIT. In this intervention, police collaborate and work alongside mental health professions. In this project, we outline procedures for the most rigorous study of the co-response model to date. We focus on the Mobile Crisis Assistance Team (MCAT) – Behavioral Health Unit (BHU), a co-responder model in Indianapolis, Indiana that seeks to divert individuals from custodial arrest and entry into the justice system. Our primary deliverable is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) where we examine multiple criminal justice and public health outcomes, including cost-benefits. The results will provide a critical and comprehensive test of the co-response model and inform a subsequent multi-site study of the model across the state of Indiana.


Safety and Health Integration in the Enforcement of Laws on Drugs (SHIELD) programming for Indiana Probation

Principal Investigator: Brad Ray

Grant funder: Indiana State Department of Health

This scope of work applies to expanding, deploying and evaluating the SHIELD training curriculum to probation officers in Indiana, including subcontracting with SHIELD training developers from Northeastern University. The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) will support coordination between Northeastern University, IDOH and other relevant partners; training event online registration and facilitation; development and analysis of pre- and post-survey evaluation instruments; and hosting of training materials on the CBHJ website.


Sequential Intercept Model for Wayne County Mental Health Jail Diversion

Principal Investigator: Sheryl Kubiak

Collaborating: Erin Comartin

Grant funder: Ethel & James Flinn Family Foundation

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) is proposing a two-year project to continue to facilitate the implementation of the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM), mapping recommendations identified by Wayne County stakeholders. The SIM mapping, which was funded by the Flinn Foundation and conducted by Policy Research Associates in 2018, identified priorities for improving diversion efforts for people with behavioral health needs in each of the six intercepts: Community Services (Intercept 0), Law Enforcement (Intercept 1), Initial Detention/Initial Court Proceedings (Intercept 2), Jails/Courts (Intercept 3), Reentry (Intercept 4), and Community Connections (Intercept 5). The facilitation work done by the CBHJ has concentrated on coordinating and implementing changes in intercepts 0 and 1. The CBHJ has built relationships with and between law enforcement, hospitals, the probate court, DWIHN, DWIHN's Clinically Responsible Service Providers (CRSPs) and newly funded Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). The work of the WCJ/MHI in intercepts 0 and 1 will be the framework used as the WCJ/MHI shifts focus to intercepts 2 and 3. The WCJ/MHI will continue identifying barriers to change, focusing on system-wide collaboration, relationship building and information sharing. The WCJ/MHI has identified three areas where CBHJ assistance is requested: (1) Facilitate the design of a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), (2) Facilitate the development of a Familiar Faces program, and (3) Coordinate efforts to create a behavioral health problem-solving approach in the district courts.


Teleservices Adoption Survey in Judicially Led Diversion Programs

Principal Investigator: Brad Ray

Grant funder: Rulo Strategies

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) at Wayne State University (WSU) will work with Rulo Strategies to develop a survey with the aim of understanding the attitudes, adoption and acceptance of teleservices among judicially led diversion programs.