Integrating criminal justice, community healthcare, and support services for adults with severe mental disorders

Psychiatr Q. 2004 Spring;75(1):71-85. doi: 10.1023/b:psaq.0000007562.37428.52.


Persons with severe mental disorders are overrepresented in our nation's jails and prisons. Factors including cooccurring substance use disorders, homelessness, and lack of access to community services have contributed to this problem, as have gaps between criminal justice, healthcare, and community support systems. In order to address these issues, Project Link was developed by the University of Rochester Department of Psychiatry in collaboration with five local community agencies. Project Link is designed to prevent involvement of individuals with severe mental illness from entering the criminal justice system. While many models of diversion programs exist, they are all dependent on access to appropriate community-based services. This paper will describe the steps that Project Link has taken towards integrating criminal justice, healthcare, and community support services for individuals with severe mental disorders involved in the criminal justice system.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Criminal Law / organization & administration*
  • Forensic Psychiatry / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Social Support*
  • United States