About the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH)
Overview of CCJBH
Established by California Penal Code Section 6044(a), the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH) is a 12-member council chaired by the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and is comprised of the Department of State Hospitals (DSH), the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), and appointed expert representatives from the criminal justice and behavioral health fields such as probation, court officers, and mental health care professionals. CCJBH serves as a resource to assist and advise the administration and legislature on best practices to reduce the incarceration of youth and adults with mental illness and substance use disorders (SUDs) with a focus on prevention, diversion, and reentry strategies. Additional information can be found in CCJBH’s 2022 Framework.
A true shift in the paradigm between criminal justice and behavioral health will embody an effective jail diversion system that fosters an ongoing and successful exchange of information among courts, criminal justice agencies, behavioral health professionals, government and non-government organizations to achieve a substantial positive change in the way individuals with mental illness are treated in our communities.
The leaders in criminal justice and behavioral health participating in this effort strive to end the criminalization of individuals with mental illness by supporting proven strategies that promote early intervention, access to effective treatments, a planned re-entry and the preservation of public safety.
Chairperson: Kathleen Allison, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)
Kathleen Allison was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom as Secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on October 1, 2020. In her over 30 years at CDCR, she has held several leadership roles, including most recently Undersecretary of Operations. Prior to that, she was Director of the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) from 2016 to 2018; Deputy Director of Facility Support from 2012 to 2016; and Associate Director for the Female Offender Programs and Services from 2011 to 2012. Ms. Allison also served in several positions at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran from 2002 to 2011, including Warden; Chief Deputy Administrator; Correctional Administrator; and Correctional Health Services Administrator II. She also held several positions at Avenal State Prison from 1987 to 2002, including Community Resources Manager and Senior Medical Technical Assistant. Ms. Allison began her career as a Medical Technical Assistant at Avenal State Prison in 1987. She is a licensed Registered Nurse.
Ms. Allison has experienced nearly all aspects of corrections in her tenure at CDCR, from health care and custody operations, to fiscal administration, rehabilitative programs, mental health services, and community relationships. Most recently as Undersecretary, she has been critical in the response of CDCR to the COVID-19 pandemic in some of the state’s 35 prisons. Those efforts have included the suspension of intake, visiting and volunteering, the expedited release of eligible inmates, the reduction of the prison population to its lowest level in 30 years, and the response to the outbreak in San Quentin State Prison.
Michelle Baass, Director, Department of Health Care Services (DHCS)
Michelle Baass was appointed Director of the California Department of Health Care Services on September 10, 2021. Ms. Baass has been Undersecretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency since 2018. She was Deputy Secretary of the Office of Program and Fiscal Affairs at the California Health and Human Services Agency from 2017 to 2018 and Deputy Director and Principal Consultant at the California State Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review from 2012 to 2017. She was Deputy Director and Principal Consultant at the California State Senate Office of Research from 2008 to 2012. Ms. Baass was a Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst at the California Legislative Analyst’s Office from 2004 to 2008 and a Manager and Consultant for Accenture from 1996 to 2004. Ms. Baass earned a Master of Public Policy and Administration degree from California State University, Sacramento.
Stephanie Clendenin, Director, California Department of State Hospitals
Stephanie Clendenin is the Director of the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) which is the largest forensic inpatient mental health hospital system in the nation, serving over 11,000 patients annually across five state hospitals, jail-based competency treatments programs, community-based restoration programs, and conditional release programs. Previously, Ms. Clendenin was appointed as Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) by Governor Brown in December 2014. As Chief Deputy Director, she oversaw the operation of the five state hospitals responsible for providing inpatient mental health treatment for over 6000 patients daily. Additionally, she oversaw DSH’s operating divisions including, clinical operations, forensic services, legal services, strategic planning, administrative services, and information technology.
Previously, Ms. Clendenin, also served as the Chief Deputy Director for the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD). She was appointed to this position by Governor Brown in June 2011. She managed OSHPD’s operating divisions responsible for the building and financing of health facility infrastructure, the collection and analyses of healthcare data, and the development and expansion of healthcare professionals to serve and improve the delivery of healthcare, particularly in medically underserved communities in California. Ms. Clendenin has over 28 years of experience with the State of California.
Tony Hobson, PhD, Behavioral Health Director, Colusa County
Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, 2018
Tony Hobson is the Behavioral Health Director at Colusa County with the responsibility of overseeing mental health, psychiatric, marriage and family counseling, and addictions treatment on behalf of Colusa County residents. Previously, he was the director of behavioral health, Plumas County Department of Behavioral Health since 2018 and contributing faculty at Walden University since 2006. Prior, he was the behavioral health director of the Sutter-Yuba Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services Department from 2014 to 2018. Hobson held several positions at the Butte County Department of Behavioral Health from 2010 to 2014 and from 2007 to 2008, including senior program manager, program manager and psychologist. He was a psychologist at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2008 to 2010 and served in the U.S. Navy from 1989 to 1993. Hobson earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in clinical psychology from Walden University and a Master of Arts degree in multicultural counseling from San Diego State University. Mr. Hobson was appointed to CCJBH by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018.
Mack Jenkins, Retired, Chief Probation Officer, San Diego County Probation Department
Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, 2015
Mack Jenkins, former Chief Probation Officer of San Diego County Probation Department, held the post since 2007. Prior, he served in several positions at the Orange County Probation Department from 1977 to 2007, including division director, assistant director, supervisor and deputy probation counselor. Jenkins was an adjunct instructor of criminal justice at the Rancho Santiago Community College District from 1992 to 2007. He is a member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Board of Directors and the Judicial Council’s Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues. Jenkins earned a Master of Science degree in criminal justice from California State University, Long Beach. Mr. Jenkins was appointed to CCJBH formerly known as COMIO by Governor Jerry Brown 2015.
The Honorable Stephen V. Manley, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge
Appointed by Chief Justice Ronald M. George of the California Supreme Court, 2010
Stephen V. Manley is a Superior Court judge in Santa Clara County. He has served on the bench for over 25 years. He was a founder of the Drug Treatment Court in Santa Clara County as well as the Santa Clara County Mental Health Treatment Court. Judge Manley was appointed to the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health, formerly known as COMIO by Chief Justice Ronald M. George of the California Supreme Court in 2010.
Danitza Pantoja, PsyD, Coordinator of Psychological Services, Antelope Valley Union High School District
Appointed by Speaker Anthony Rendon, 2019
Danitza Pantoja, currently is the Coordinator of Psychological Services for the Antelope Valley Union High School District, brings a unique and critical perspective to the Council which includes working with youth in a school setting, working as field staff for an Assemblywoman, and civic involvement as a local commissioner and board member. Danitza received her bachelor’s in Psychology and master’s in School Counseling degrees from Loyola Marymount University.
While working on education issues as a field representative for former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez from the 39th district, she returned back to school to earn a second master’s degree in School Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute. Soon after she received her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from Alliant International University. She has worked in the educational field for over 10 years in numerous roles such as Program Specialist and Bilingual and Lead School Psychologist in both traditional public school and charter school settings. Danitza also has a certificate from Cal State Northridge in Assistive Technology Applications and has served as a commissioner for the Parks, Wellness, and Community Service Commission and the Education Commission in the City of San Fernando. She also serves as a board member for Loyola Marymount University School of Education Alumni Board and El Centro De Amistad. Ms. Pantoja was appointed to CCJBH in 2019 by Speaker Anthony Rendon.
Tracey Whitney, Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
Appointed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra, 2017
Tracey Whitney is currently a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She is a founding member of the DA’s Mental Health Advisory Board and the County’s Permanent Steering Committee. Prior to her nearly two decades in the DA’s office, Ms. Whitney served as a Deputy District Attorney in Orange County. Ms. Whitney also clerked for federal court judge Honorable Kim McLane Wardlaw. She began her career in private practice. Ms. Whitney received her Juris Doctor from USC Gould School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Duke University. Tracey Whitney was appointed to the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH) in 2017 by Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Anita Fisher, Consumer/Family Member Representative
Appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom, 2021
Anita Fisher has been Chief Executive Officer and Consultant at Fisher Mental Health Consulting since 2018. She was Director of Education at National Alliance on Mental Illness, San Diego from 2007 to 2018. Ms. Fisher held several positions at Union Bank from 1995 to 2007, including Vice President and Business Systems Analyst V and Assistant Vice President and Product Manager. She is a member of the NAACP Mental Health and Policing Sub Committee, the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team Advisory Board and the San Diego County Probation Chief’s Advisory Board. Ms. Fisher is an Ambassador for A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing).
Scott J. Svonkin, Director of Intergovernmental Relations, L.A. County Probation
Appointed by Speaker Anthony Rendon, 2022
Scott Svonkin is currently serving as Director of Intergovernmental Relations for Los Angeles County Probation and is co-chair of the political action committee for the Beverly Hills-Hollywood branch of the NAACP. Prior to that, Scott has filled a plethora of roles including community liaison on the staff of Los Angeles Mayor Tom, Senior Advisor to the Los Angeles County Sheriff, State Assemblyman Paul Koretz’ Chief of Staff, West Hollywood Deputy Councilman, and Chief of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang. He thrice served as president of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, twice served as President of the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association and has served on the Los Angeles Valley College Foundation Board, the California State University Northridge Legislative Advisory Council, the LA PROSPER Board of the Los Angeles Community College District, and the Center for Southern California Studies Advisory Board. He is also a former Chairman of the Los Angeles Unified School District Advisory Council for District Four. For nearly seven years Scott was a healthcare executive at Prudential Insurance where he arranged for his company to donate almost one thousand computers to public schools. Following his time at Prudential Scott served on the board of the Children’s Hospital L.A. Huckleberry Fund as well as the California Respiratory Care Board where his fellow members elected him President shortly after his appointment. Mr. Svonkin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the California State University Northridge.
Brenda Grealish, Executive Officer, Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health
Brenda Grealish is currently the Executive Officer of the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH), which is part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Prior to joining CCJBH, she worked at the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), where she served in several positions, including Chief of the former Mental Health Services Division, Assistant Deputy and Acting Deputy Director for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services, and Chief of the Medi-Cal Behavioral Health Division. Prior to working at DHCS, she held several positions at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Research, including Deputy Director, Research Manager III and Research Manager II. In her early career, she held several positions at the former California Department of Mental Health, including Research Program Specialist I and Research Analyst I/II. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento.
Staff Services Manager III
Liz Castillon Vice, MS
Staff Services Manager II
Health Program Specialist I
Staff Services Analyst
Research Scientist III
Jessica Camacho Duran, MPH
Health Program Specialist II
Staff Services Analyst
Graduate Student Assistant