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Behavioral Health Services for Criminal Justice-Involved Populations — A Series

Three Justice scales and ATTC events


Criminal justice-involved populations are particularly susceptible to substance use and its consequences. Furthermore, these populations often have unique needs due to their justice system contact, such as additional stressors, barriers to services, and loss of substance tolerance. These populations often would benefit from additional services from across the behavioral health continuum of care, and service providers should consider expanding services to better serve them. This three-part webinar series will explore how behavioral health professionals can best serve and reach these populations. It will provide an overview of criminal justice-involved populations and their differing needs. It will also discuss strategies for initiating and expanding collaborations with justice system organizations. Additionally, it will discuss specific substance use prevention and treatment, overdose prevention, and suicide prevention strategies for these populations. Lastly, the series will discuss the service needs of children of incarcerated parents and potential strategies for meeting them.

Part 1: Understanding the Unique Needs of Diverse Populations | March 7, 2023 | 1:00pm—2:30pm

This webinar will provide an introduction on criminal justice-involved populations for behavioral health professionals. It will overview the various populations within the criminal justice system and their needs across the behavioral health continuum of care, including lack of access to services while incarcerated and lack of case management during re-entry. It will also discuss how behavioral health professionals should consider risk versus need level and justice system stages when deploying services. Lastly, the webinar will discuss the unique substance use, overdose, and suicide risks associated with justice system-involvement, particularly at the point of community re-entry for incarcerated populations. Learn more & to register.

Part 2: Evidence-Based Strategies and Recommendations for Providing Services | March 9, 2023 | 1:00pm—2:30pm

This webinar will explore the evidence base around effective behavioral health interventions for criminal justice-involved populations. It will discuss substance use, overdose, and suicide prevention and treatment services for both the juvenile and adult justice systems. As part of this, the webinar will review the evidence base for drug treatment courts as an alternative to continued justice system involvement. The webinar will also provide strategies for improving collaborative efforts between the behavioral health continuum of care and criminal justice system organizations. Lastly, the webinar will introduce resources that behavioral health professionals can use to learn more about these topics. Learn more & to register.

Part 3: Serving Children of Incarcerated Parents | March 14, 2023 | 1:00pm—2:30pm

This webinar will review the importance of providing behavioral health services to children of incarcerated parents. It will discuss the need for services and the impact that parental incarceration can have on youth development. It will also introduce evidence-based strategies and resources for children and families impacted by parental criminal justice-system involvement. Additionally, the webinar will walk through the planning steps to developing new service programs for these children and families and review potential collaborative partners for these efforts. Lastly, the webinar will provide an opportunity for facilitated small group discussion about serving children of incarcerated parents. Learn more & to register.


Josh Esrick headshot

Josh Esrick, MPP, is the Chief of Training and Technical Assistance at Carnevale Associates, LLC. Mr. Esrick has over ten years of experience researching, writing, evaluating, and presenting on substance use prevention and other behavioral health topics. He is an expert in providing training and technical assistance (T/TA) in substance use, having overseen the development of hundreds of T/TA products for numerous clients, including six of SAMHSA’s ten regional Prevention Technology Transfer Centers (PTTCs), the PTTC Network Coordinating Office, the Central East ATTC and Mental Health Technology Transfer Centers (MHTTC), and SAMHSA’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT). These trainings and products have covered a wide range of topics, including strategic planning, data collection and analysis, and identifying evidence-based prevention interventions for youth.

In addition to TTA, Mr. Esrick has directly provided many of these services to behavioral health agencies and other entities. He has published several academic journal articles. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Public Policy from George Washington University.


Lauren Pappacena headshot

Lauren Pappacena, MSW, is a Research Associate with Carnevale Associates. Lauren has a background in criminal justice and juvenile justice research specifically as it relates to evidence-based programs and practices spanning criminal justice topics, including corrections, law enforcement, reentry, and courts. Currently, she assists with training evaluations for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and the PTTC, where she brings her experience with quantitative and qualitative analysis and data visualization.

With a strong interest in policy analysis, research translation, data collection, and analytic writing, Ms. Pappacena is published in the Journal of Human Rights and Social Work for her analysis of national early-release laws.



This series is brought to you in collaboration with the Central East PTTC.

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