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Center for Behavioral Health and Justice

| Richmond, VA

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice is a center of excellence for the Commonwealth of Virginia that is designed to address the evolving challenges that exist in coordinating and collaborating across the behavioral health and criminal justice systems. The Center brings together stakeholders at the local, regional, and state level to identify and discuss the needs of justice-involved, behavioral health consumers. The work of the Center is to develop and help implement strategies to effectively meet the identified needs of this vulnerable population. Research has shown that individuals living with a serious mental illness (or co-occurring disorder) are at high risk for being incarcerated, and often remain incarcerated for longer periods of time than their counterparts in the general population. These frequent and extended periods of incarceration often result in further psychological decompensation, and can serve to increase an individual’s risk of re-offending. Intervening early on in a consumer’s interaction with the criminal justice system, and linking them to appropriate behavioral health treatment services, can change the trajectory of an individual’s future mental health recovery.