Coordinated Court and Community Responses

In order to address mental health needs in your community, certain court and community responses must be developed early on. The best practices recommended on this page build the foundation for improving the court and community responses to mental health and co-occurring disorders.

The most effective approach is to design responses that are engaged in by community collaborators early and often. The responses on this webpage build on the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM), which identifies appropriate responses at particular intercepts that can keep an individual from continuing to penetrate the criminal justice system. Nevertheless, effective court and community responses require interventions prior to engagement in the criminal justice system.

This page highlights several additional areas of focus that, if engaged in proactively, can create necessary support structures and prevent justice system involvement for those with mental health disorders. These additional practices address physical and behavioral health needs, pre-crisis community resources, family and public outreach, and civil justice needs. Additionally, a focus should be placed on the role of court leaders and the importance of data and information sharing.

Every community will be at a different place with each of these practices. As you look through the various recommendations, consider your own community and the best way to use these tools to build a structure of support for mental health issues within it. Your community may require additional practices or approaches not listed below.

View the full Sequential Intercept Model

Find out more about PRA's Sequential Intercept Model →

Court Leaders

Leading Change

Physical & Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health Care
Continuity of Care
Physical Health Care
Screening & Assessment

Pre-Crisis Community Resources

Schools & Education
Community Services
Food Banks
Shelters & Supported Housing
Supported Employment

Family & Public Outreach

Family & Peer Support
Individual Awareness
Public Outreach

Civil Justice

Advanced Directives
Civil Interventions
Civil Legal Aid

Data & Information Sharing

Data Collection
Information Sharing

Intercept 0: Community Services


This intercept addresses the escalation of mental health and behavioral needs following a mental health crisis but without the involvement of law enforcement.

Case Management Teams
Crisis Services

Intercept 1: Law Enforcement


Law enforcement play a gatekeeper role to the criminal justice system and contact with law enforcement provides opportunities for diversion to a response that more effectively addresses mental health crises.

First Responder Training
Mobile Teams
Pre-arrest / Pre-booking Diversion
Wrap-around Services

Intercept 2: Initial Detention/Initial Court Hearings


Initial detention and court hearings provide the first opportunity for broader criminal justice system partners to be involved in mental and behavioral health responses.

Co-location of Services
Criminal Defense
High Utilizer Response
Pretrial Orders

Intercept 3: Jails/Courts


This intercept addresses the importance of continued and concerted mental health responses in the criminal justice system.

Caseflow Management
Competency & Restoration
Court Liaison
Medical & Disability Benefits
Problem-Solving Courts
Diversion & Alternative Sentencing

Intercept 4: Reentry


This intercept focuses on an individual’s post-incarceration life. Reentry must be well-planned, resourced, and individual-centric to help set individuals up for success.

Benefits Enrollment
Community-Based Treatment
Peer Support
Transition Plan

Intercept 5: Community Corrections


As an extension of the justice system, parole and probation balance justice-system monitoring with individual-focused service coordination to establish a safe and healthy life outside of the justice system.

Prosocial Activities
Risk Needs Responsivity
Specialized Caseloads
Team-Based Programming