MHSA Funded Programs

Updated November 12, 2020

Below you will find an overview of the Mental Health Service Act (MHSA) funded programs that CCJBH administers.

Total Resources

ActualCurrent YearBudget Year
MHSF$   1,181,000$   1,202,000$   1,052,000
Positions3.3        3.0         3.0

General Overview 

The Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH or Council), which reports to the Office of the Secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), receives Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds for 3.0 positions (a Research Scientist III, a Health Program Specialist I and an Associate Governmental Program Analyst), as well as $670,000 ongoing for contracts  
(i.e., grants).  

This funding supports activities to promote the implementation of effective prevention, diversion, and reentry policies and practices that reduce recidivism among individuals with behavioral health challenges. These activities include examining patterns of health care services utilization among those formerly incarcerated, identifying local best practices and strategies to support the broader adoption of such practices, and providing recommendations to the Administration and the Legislature regarding policy changes that may result in enhanced community alternatives to incarceration. Funds are also used to support training and educational opportunities for Council members, stakeholders and staff, and provide resources for communication and information dissemination efforts. The contract funds are granted to organization(s) that represent individuals with lived experience in the justice and behavioral health systems to provide input and direction into the policy and program work of CCJBH, as well as affect change locally.  

Furthermore, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-19, CCJBH received an annual allocation of $150,000 for three years to provide expert consultation to the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) and county participants on diversion best practices and policies for individuals who are at-risk of being declared incompetent to stand trial for felony offenses.  

Program Overview

Medi-Cal Utilization Project and General CCJBH Support

Program Description 

People with behavioral health needs cycle in and out of the criminal justice system and incur high supervision costs, high health care costs, and poor outcomes. Historically, justice-involved people with behavioral health needs are likely to seek Medi-Cal funded behavioral health treatment in the community mental health system, and access to this treatment can, in part, help to improve both criminal justice and health outcomes. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded access to behavioral health care as many justice-involved people became newly eligible for Medi-Cal.  

To track health services access and utilization for people involved in the criminal justice system, CCJBH received ongoing funding in FY 2016-17 to support the Medi-Cal Utilization Project (MCUP), which involves research on justice-involved people with mental illness and substance use disorders. CCCJBH currently uses this funding to support a Research Scientist III to lead all projects that involve research expertise, including the MCUP and other related projects, including Public Health Meets Public Safety (funded with State General Funds), which seeks to leverage existing data to inform the development of behavioral health / criminal justice policies. This position enhances CCJBH’s capacity to issue data-informed recommendations for policy changes and operational improvements. It also supports the general work of CCJBH, including CCJBH meetings, trainings, communication strategies, and the development and dissemination of the annual CCJBH legislative report and recommendations. 

Program Outcomes  

Work on the MCUP is ongoing, beginning in October 2017, when CDCR shared with the Department of Health Care Services demographic data on justice-involved people released into the community. Staff matched these data to paid Medi-Cal claims for people released from CDCR facilities between January 2012 and  
March 2017 who were eligible for Medi-Cal services. CCJBH released a report presenting findings from an initial phase of the research in December 2018, which indicated that justice-involved people accessed health services at higher rates post-ACA expansion compared to the rates at which they accessed services pre-expansion. Findings from an analysis of specialty mental health service utilization are in CCJBH’s 2019 annual legislative report. In July 2020, a factsheet documenting patterns of emergency and inpatient behavioral health services by people released from CDCR facilities was issued. Additional analyses that reflect timely enrollment and utilization are ongoing. Next steps include accessing updated data for recent CDCR release cohorts, as well as describing patterns of access to and utilization of substance use disorder treatment services and physical health services across delivery systems.  This information will be useful for tracking re-entry processes in to behavioral health, which can inform quality improvement activities and related policy decisions, at both the State and local levels. 

Lived Experience Program

Program Description  

In FY 2018-19, CCJBH received $795,000 per year ongoing for the Lived Experience Program (LEP) project.  This funding supports a Health Program Specialist I, who oversees the project, as well as stakeholder contracts that inform policies being developed to reduce involvement in the criminal justice system for those individuals experiencing behavioral health issues (the contracts comprise $670,000 of this allocation). In the spirit of the MHSA, CCJBH conducted a community engagement process during the late summer and fall of 2019 to obtain input on how to best implement the intent of the Legislature. The community engagement process helped to inform the development of the Request for Proposal (RFP) solicitation for the competitive bid process to award the stakeholder contracts.   

Program Outcomes  

CCJBH executed a contract with the Consensus and Collaboration Program with the College of Continuing Education at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), to provide support for the LEP project.  CSUS facilitated the community engagement process, which included key informant interviews, population specific listening sessions and regional forums throughout the state. The intention of the community engagement process was to target diverse populations, including consumers, family members, and professionals, to obtain their first-hand perspectives related to current needs and best practices of programs and policies that have proven to be effective in addressing the needs of those who have behavioral health issues who are involved in the criminal justice system.  Common themes identified throughout the various events and regions include extending continuity of care, increasing opportunities for peer support, expanding existing local capacity, developing and carrying out outreach and education, and promoting collaboration and information sharing.  

The information gathered during the community engagement process helped define the RFP framework used for the competitive bidding process for the LEP contracts.  

Below are the identified Project Goals, Project Outcomes, Priority Populations and Priority Approaches: 

Project Goals                  Elevate the perspectives of youth and adults with lived experience to reduce the involvement of youth and adults with behavioral health needs in the criminal justice system.
Project ObjectivesIncrease advocacy capacity of those with lived experience
Increase education and training opportunities
Increase organizational and community awareness
Improve collaborative efforts and partnerships
Priority PopulationsWomen
People of color
Youth and adults that have experience with substance use disorders
Family members of justice involved youth and adults
Youth and adults facing housing insecurity
Priority ApproachesPreventative in nature
Multi-disciplinary team collaboration
Lived experience practitioner utilization
Trauma informed
Culturally responsive
Gender responsive
LGBTQ+ responsive
In-reach combined with post release continuum of care

The RFP framework solicited local level contractors (one for each behavioral health region) to submit unique proposals to conduct capacity building, outreach, awareness, and education activities targeting the identified priority populations and priority approaches.  It is CCJBH’s expectation that collectively the contractors will work collaboratively on state-level initiatives, culminating in consistent messaging and complementary deliverables. By October 2020, all contract awards were complete and work commenced.  During 2021, CCJBH will promote the activities and work completed through the LEP contract deliverables for capacity building, outreach, awareness, and education. The five regional contractors are: 

  1. Bay Area – Transitions Clinic Network (TCN)
  2. Central – Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC)
  3. Los Angeles – Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership (LARRP)
  4. Superior – CalVOICES
  5. Southern – CalVOICES

Supporting AB 1810 Implementation (Pre-Trial Mental Health Diversion)  

Program Description 

In FY 2018-19 CCJBH received an annual allocation of $150,000 for three years to support the implementation of Chapter 34, Statutes of 2018 (AB 1810). The legislation specifically directed CCJBH to provide consultation to Department of State Hospitals (DSH) to implement the DSH Diversion Program, which focuses on felony pre-trial diversion for individuals at risk of being deemed incompetent to stand trial who are experiencing severe mental illness and who may be homeless or at risk of homelessness. In FYs 2018-19 and 2019-20, CCJBH supported DSH in a variety of diversion activities, including developing and scoring county proposals, reviewing scopes of work, and acquiring or delivering technical assistance to the counties. Through a training contract with the Council on State Governments Justice Center (CSG), CCJBH supplies training to counties covering topics such as successful diversion planning and implementation, program sustainability, housing, and individual case planning. Additionally, CCJBH contracts with the Forensic Mental Health Association of California to provide training on best practices to state and county administrators. In furthering CCJBH efforts to identify and promote best practice models, CCJBH contracted with industry experts to meet the identified need for training on risk assessment, and to provide online training to key stakeholders on how to conduct a program evaluation.  These CCJBH training efforts are listed in the table below. 

November 7, 2019 Words to Deeds XIII –Outcomes Matter:  
Diversion that Works! 
Counties participating in DSH-funded diversion; State policy and decision-makers 
January 30, 2020 AB 1810 Diversion Overview Training Prosecutors, county supervisors and their designees 
July 23, 2020 Making the Case for Diversion: Reentry and Diversion During COVID-19 Criminal court judges, county behavioral health administrators, and treatment providers working in large counties in Southern California 
August 20, 2020 Braiding Funding for  
Diversion Programs 
Criminal court judges, county behavioral health administrators, and treatment providers 
September 25, 2020 Case Management for Diversion Participants During Covid-19 Criminal court judges, county behavioral health administrators, and treatment providers 
October 15, 2020 Preparing People for Diversion Criminal court judges, county behavioral health administrators, treatment providers and policymakers 
October 21, 2020 Mental Health Diversion-Making it Work Together – Session 1 Criminal court judges, county behavioral health administrators, treatment providers and policymakers 
November 18, 2020 Mental Health Diversion-Making it Work Together – Session 2 Criminal court judges, county behavioral health administrators, treatment providers and policymakers 

Program Outcomes  

In addition to providing ongoing consultation to DSH, and direct training and technical to county participants, these funds will be used to support information gathering and delivery of technical assistance to local and state leadership to promote the long-term adoption of pre-trial mental health diversion practices in  FY 2019-20 through 2020-21. Through a competitive bidding process, CCJBH will award contracts to experts in pre-trial mental health diversion strategies, and work across the necessary professions with critical roles in leadership such as district attorneys, judges, and other local elected officials to make the case for expanded diversion. CCJBH uses a state-level steering or advisory committee representing the various partners in diversion to identify policy issues during implementation, find common ground, seek resolutions, and propose recommendations for the Council to consider to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainable impact of AB 1810. Outcomes from these sessions are due by the end of FY 2020-21, and will include a final set of policy recommendations, and identified next steps to support statewide pre-trial Mental Health Diversion.