Thursday, February 3, 2011


The Center for Mental Health Services' National GAINS Center was founded in 1995 and serves as a national focal point for gathering and disseminating information about effective services for people with co-occurring disorders involving mental health and substance abuse problems in contact with the criminal justice system. The GAINS Center operates under the auspices of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The TAPA (Technical Assistance and Policy Analysis) Center for Jail Diversion and the Center for Evidence-Based Programs in the Justice System, funded by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) in 2001 and 2004 respectively, make up the National GAINS Center.

The GAINS Center's work focuses on expanding access to community based services for adults caught up in the criminal justice system and diagnosed with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders. Emphasizing the provision of consultation and technical assistance to communities, the Center aims to achieve integrated systems of mental health and substance abuse services.

To accomplish this, the GAINS Center has developed a comprehensive plan of information dissemination, knowledge application and technical assistance strategies to further the implementation of evidence-based programs in the justice system. The GAINS Center supports and engages in creative initiatives and collaboration with public and private organizations to effectively address the evolving needs of state and local planning and coordination.

Examples of the GAINS Center's work includes:

1.) Consumer Perspectives Exhibit, In Our Own Words: Our Experience with Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System is a museum quality exhibit featuring consumers and peer specialists involved in the development and implementation of jail diversion programs, participants in jail diversion programs, participants in drug courts, and other individuals with histories of justice involvement. This exhibit has been displayed since 2008 in various locations around the country including the National CIT Training Conference in 2008. If you are interested in contributing to the exhibit or hosting the exhibit, please contact Latrease Moore at the National GAINS Center, (518) 439-7415 ext. 280 or

2.) CMHS Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery Program: Priority to Veterans 2008
Combat veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD and other mental illnesses. Many of these veterans suffering with mental health issues won't be diagnosed and therefore will not receive treatment untreated, resulting in a arrest and incarceration. Communities struggle with providing adequate supports to ensure that these veterans successfully reintegrate back into community life. In an effort to counteract this, SAMHSA awarded six Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery Program grants in the fall of 2008 to support local implementation and statewide expansion of trauma-informed jail diversion programs for people with post traumatic stress (PTSD) and other trauma-related disorders. Grants were awarded to organizations in Vermont, Georgia, Arizona and other states and the CMHS GAINS Center will provide support by assisting states with infrastructure development, offering aid in program design, action planning, and overcoming barriers among many other areas of technical assistance. For more information, please visit the GAINS Center website.