Criminal Justice Projects

NAMI Connecticut is actively involved in Criminal Justice Issues affecting people with mental illnesses.

NAMI Connecticut is acutely aware that our prisons and jails have become the de-facto institutions that house persons with mental illnesses. In Connecticut, approximately 16% of our prison population consists of persons with mental illness. NAMI Connecticut works with the Behavioral Health Subcommittee of the Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission to identify and make recommendations regarding criminal justice/behavioral health concerns.

NAMI Connecticut also supports the work of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch and the Department of Corrections in their efforts to keep persons with mental illness out of prison when possible and to reduce prison and jail overcrowding.

Navigating the Mental Health System

It is often hard for families, friends and advocates to understand the criminal justice system, especially during times of crisis. NAMI Connecticut has a helpful handbook to guide you.

Jail Diversion

  • Crisis Intervention Teams

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is a program of the Department of Mental Health and Addition Services. CIT is an innovative police based first responder program that has become nationally known as the “Memphis Model” of pre-arrest jail diversion for those in a mental illness crisis. NAMI’s partners with the CT Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement (CABLE) provide law enforcement based crisis intervention training for helping those individuals with mental illness. In addition, NAMI Connecticut provides logistical support for CABLE’s training. NAMI's In Our Own Voice presenters share the perspective of individuals with lived experience.

Involvement in CIT is voluntary and based in the patrol division of the police department. In addition, CIT works in partnership with those in mental health care to provide a system of services that is friendly to the individuals with mental illness, family members, and the police officers.

NAMI Connecticut’s main role in CIT is to educate affiliates and their communities about CIT. NAMI also reaches out to Regional Mental Health Boards, Local Mental Health Authorities and others in order to strengthen the CITinfrastructure. This provides a responsive referral network that can help police refer persons in psychiatric crisis to the proper community based services while diverting them, when appropriate, from the criminal justice system.

CIT in Connecticut is still a work in progress. Not every police department hasCIT or a CIT policy in place. A CIT policy ensures that a dispatcher will send aCIT officer – if one is available – to any identified mental health crisis call.

For a listing of police departments with CIT policies and CIT trained officers click the link titled “CIT in Connecticut” at the bottom of this page.Contact CABLE with any questions about CIT departments, policies and recruitment.

Re-entry programs

  • Criminal Justice Inter-Agency Program
  • Connecticut Offender Re-entry Program
  • Transitional Case Management
  • Mental Health Parole Unit
  • Conditional Release Service Unit

Breaking Down Barriers: Connecticut’s Collaborative Re-entry Model for Offenders with Mental Illnesses

More detailed information about these programs, please click the link for our Criminal Justice Guide under “Related Files” below.

Contact for more information.

Louise Pyers Receives Award and Recognition

Louise Pyers, M.S., Criminal Justice Project Director of NAMI Connecticut (National Alliance on Mental Illness, Connecticut Chapter) and Executive Director and Founder of CABLE (Connecticut Alliance To Benefit Law Enforcement) was recently awarded the “2011 International CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Coordinator of the Year” by CITI (Crisis Intervention Team International), at their annual conference, held in September at Virginia Beach, Virginia.

To read the Press Release announcing this award (as it appeared on the Hartford Courant’s website), click here.

Related Links

CIT in Connecticut

Understanding the Criminal Justice System 

Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement