Use of the Sequential Intercept Model as an approach to decriminalization of people with serious mental illness

Psychiatr Serv. 2006 Apr;57(4):544-9. doi: 10.1176/ps.2006.57.4.544.


The Sequential Intercept Model provides a conceptual framework for communities to use when considering the interface between the criminal justice and mental health systems as they address concerns about criminalization of people with mental illness. The model envisions a series of points of interception at which an intervention can be made to prevent individuals from entering or penetrating deeper into the criminal justice system. Ideally, most people will be intercepted at early points, with decreasing numbers at each subsequent point. The interception points are law enforcement and emergency services; initial detention and initial hearings; jail, courts, forensic evaluations, and forensic commitments; reentry from jails, state prisons, and forensic hospitalization; and community corrections and community support. The model provides an organizing tool for a discussion of diversion and linkage alternatives and for systematically addressing criminalization. Using the model, a community can develop targeted strategies that evolve over time to increase diversion of people with mental illness from the criminal justice system and to link them with community treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Criminal Law / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Services, Psychiatric / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Ohio