Reforming Behavioral Healthcare Services for Justice-Involved Residents

In Washington D.C., one in eight adults is justice involved, and many need access to behavioral health services. To reduce recidivism, the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) is working to provide a stronger continuum of services for justice-involved individuals, from pre-arrest through post-incarceration. To this end, DBH recently developed a Forensic Services Division (FSD) to standardize and streamline how people are assessed and treated for behavioral-health interventions. Supporting the division’s work, FUSE executive fellow C. Brent Kiser helped identify needed protocols to reduce recidivism and positively impact behavioral health outcomes. He worked with the National Institute of Corrections to provide free training on cognitive-behavioral interventions for community treatment providers working with justice-involved individuals. He also helped develop, improve, and standardize operations throughout the organization and with other agencies. Brent is continuing to help the FSD enhance its practices and procedures to more effectively deliver services to justice-involved individuals. He is collaborating with DBH staff to develop training programs that ensure relevant agencies are using the same standards of practice. He is also helping FSD build standardized procedures, share and track data, and enhance its communications regarding the care of justice-involved individuals.