Behavioral Health and Justice Division
1601 Market Street
Philadelphia PA 19103
Behavioral Health and Justice Division (formerly Behavioral Health and Justice Related Services) envisions a Philadelphia where every individual achieves health, well-being, and self-determination. In order to attain this vision BHJD is committed to providing equal opportunities for treatment, support, and community integration for justice involved Philadelphians with behavioral health challenges. Cross system collaborative partnerships are critical BHJD’s work characterize every BHJD initiative. These partners include: The First Judicial District Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court, Philadelphia Police Department, Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department, Philadelphia Department of Prisons and its physical and mental health service providers(Centurion and Corizon Correctional Health Care), Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Philadelphia Defender Association, Managing Director’s Office, the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the internal partners within the entire Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. Despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, BHJD continued its cross systems work as detailed below.
2020 BHJD ongoing work:
Visit the BHJD site at DBHIDS
- Facilitating transitions for persons in recovery who are being incarcerated or who have been incarcerated and are returning to Philadelphia from county and state prisons by providing continuity of care information and facilitating linkages to behavioral healthcare service.
- Completing discharge planning for individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders who are or returning from the Department of Corrections(DOC). Support includes release planning, linkage to treatment, and peer support.
- Through the Forensic Support Team and NSH Reentry Team, conducting assessments and facilitating discharge planning for individuals at Norristown State Hospital or at risk of admission to NSH. The Forensic Support Team(FST) helps justice-involved individuals deemed incompetent to stand trial(IST) connect to appropriate behavioral health treatment and recovery interventions while balancing priorities of justice and public safety. Assistance with placement of Philadelphia’s civil commitment population at NSH due to closure of the civil portion of the hospital.
- Serving Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas specialized courts, including the First Judicial District Criminal Mental Health Court and the Philadelphia Municipal Courts’ Accelerated Misdemeanor Program and Veterans Court. For the majority of 2020 this work was done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Staffing Civil Mental Health Court sites virtually and providing oversight and technical assistance as needed.
- Through the Veteran Initiatives Unit (VIU) providing comprehensive guidance to U.S. Military Veterans with behavioral health challenges and criminal justice involvement, and their families, aiding them in navigating the healthcare and criminal justice systems and community resources.
- Working with the Philadelphia Municipal Court’s Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP),a neighborhood-focused court program designed to divert lower-level offenders from a standard trial track into appropriate community service and substance abuse treatment, to serve low-level offenders with mental illness. These efforts were accomplished through oversight and support of PHMC’s FIR program, which provided screening, same day linkage to treatment where indicated, and follow-up. For the majority of 2020 this work was done virtually due to theCOVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic also caused a dramatic slow-down in AMP activities.
- Support for community-based forensic programs developed to support individuals in NSH or diverted from NSH, including: Residential Treatment Facilities for Adults, an Extended Acute Care hospital expanded capacity in Community Residential Rehabilitation (CRR) facilities, a Recovery House, a STAR Stepdown program, and residential programs designed for specialized populations(i.e., TBI, DBT programs).
- Probation Navigation and Treatment. To reduce the further criminalization of individuals with mental illness, BHJD provides behavioral health supports to persons supervised by the Adult Probation and Parole Department (APPD). Funded through Health Choices Reinvestment dollars and Philadelphia’s MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge, the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program is two-fold: 1) It serves individuals in the community and works to keep them from being incarcerated for issues arising from the behavioral health needs. 2) It focuses on individuals who have been detained by the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department and provides linkages to treatment and other supportive services so that they can return successfully to the community.
- Funded by the MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge, a Pretrial Services Navigator continued to provide virtual social services support for the Bail Supervision Unit of the First Judicial District’s Pretrial Services Department. The Navigator works with individuals under Pretrial supervision who present with Serious Mental Illness (SMI), other behavioral health challenges, and have other social services needs expressed during visits to Pretrial.
- Developed through an RFP procurement process, initially funded through Health Choices Reinvestment dollars, and sustained through Health Choices billing, a provider-based Forensic Certified Peer Specialist (FCPS) team was created to enhance the community-based forensic services for individuals with behavioral health challenges and criminal justice system involvement, including those returning to the community from county custody, those under supervision of the Adult Probation and Parole Department, and those who are participants in one of Philadelphia’s mental health court programs. The selected provider, Peer star, employs peer staff who provides assistance throughout the criminal justice and behavioral health treatment process including court proceedings, incarceration, state hospitalization, step-down placement, etc.
New Initiatives for 2020:
Initiatives in the Planning Stages:
- A 911 Triage Desk was installed at the 911 Radio Room with the embedding of a Behavioral Health Navigator to support the identification and triage of behavioral health related calls through partnership with Managing Directors Office Criminal Justice (MDOCJ) and the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD).
- BHJD initiated intensive reentry planning in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP) to enhance the reentry process for individuals with SMI. Work with these individuals begins during incarceration, and continue through release and community reentry, and will include linkage to treatment and other support services. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of individuals were released from jail to reduce the jail population, and BHJD staff developed reentry plans for individuals with SMI and co-occurring SMI/SUD. Planning and support continues for individuals with SMI returning from PDP custody to the Philadelphia community with the goal of serving more individuals with SMI released from PDP in the coming year.
- BHJD partnered with BHTEN to develop and deliver a forensic training series for the provider network.
- BHJD assumed a leadership role in management of PHMC’s Forensic Intensive Recovery program, which serves a variety of court-based programs. A new FIR Program Management Team was formed from staff across DBHIDS to ensure that this important provider service offered the best and most effective services.
- Funded by the MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge and the City General Fund and in partnership with MDOCJ and PPD, BHJD is developing a pilot Co-Responder Program to pair CIT trained police officers with clinicians to respond to behavioral health related police incidents. The goal will be to increase early intervention for individuals with mental illness during law enforcement encounters, decreasing the likelihood that individuals will be arrested, and increasing their access to community-based services. Services are slated to begin Q1 2021.
- Funded through CHIPPS, BHJD is developing an 8-bed Peer Run Crisis Residence program for people with serious mental illness released from Philadelphia County Jail (PDP), State Prison (DOC), and Norristown State Hospital (NSH) at risk for psychiatric decompensation without additional support. The program aims to support successful community transitions using apeer led milieu and CPS staffing on-site 24/7, external case management support, and rapid connections to community based services.
- In response to limitations to normal established working procedures imposed by COVID-19 BHJD is developing a Virtual Resource Hub which will provide behavioral health navigation services remotely using technology to enable assistance for justice partners who have identified individuals in need of support and services.