Project Background

The Public Health Meets Public Safety Policy Framework seeks to identify and improve access to important data for policymakers and other stakeholders committed to the outcomes of significantly reducing justice system involvement in California for people with behavioral health needs and eliminating disparities in the justice system for this population. The framework also supports CCJBH and other state and local policymakers in their efforts to effectively address the issues of prevalence of behavioral health needs among people in jail, length of incarceration stays, and recidivism rates. The framework provides an organized way to improve understanding of the complex relationship between criminal justice and behavioral health systems. 

The CSG Justice Center team analyzed public research and consulted with policymakers, practitioners, and people with personal experience in the criminal justice and behavioral health systems to develop the framework to organize relevant data and prioritize additional data for collection and analysis. Data collected from individuals with lived experience directly related to this population were analyzed with the support of peer-reviewed published literature and qualitative and non-Western research methodology.

The framework is organized by:

  • Domains
  • Focus areas
  • Metrics

The domains present three priority policy areas where existing conditions contribute to the overrepresentation of people with behavioral health needs in the justice system and the racial disparities in their system involvement.

The focus areas identify the existing conditions related to the three domains. The metrics highlight concrete and specific ways to track progress in achieving outcomes.

Download the below materials for more background information:

Domain definition: Community environment is the environment in which people are born, grow up, learn, work, play, and age. The community environment plays a significant role in either mitigating or exacerbating the likelihood that individuals with behavioral health needs will become involved with the criminal justice system.

Socioeconomic Stability

  • Percentage of population in poverty
  • Percentage of population that is unemployed
  • High school incompletion rate
  • Percentage of people experiencing homelessness who have also experienced chronic homelessness
  • Percentage of Census tracts with low income and low food access/food security


  • Percentage of population without health insurance coverage
  • Number of primary care health professionals per 100,000 people
  • Average years of life expectancy

Community Safety

  • Rate of deaths caused by external causes per 100,000 people
  • Rate of reported violent crime per 100,000 people
  • Rate of substantiated child maltreatment per 100,000 youth

>>> Race, ethnicity, gender, age, geography

Domain definition: Treatment for mental health issues and/or substance use is critical to stopping the cycle of repeated justice system involvement for those with behavioral health needs.


  • Number of behavioral health treatment and recovery support programs that are culturally responsive, trauma informed, and specific to people involved in the justice system who have co-occurring disorders
  • Number of openings for licensed inpatient treatment programs


  • Average number of days from time of referral to admission in appropriate treatment programs
  • Percentage of referrals resulting in placements in appropriate treatment programs
  • Percentage of people released from custody with active Medi-Cal by custody setting and release type


  • Percentage of clients completing appropriate treatment and recovery support programs

>>>Race, ethnicity, gender, age, geography

Domain definition: The quality of the system response to crises strongly influences whether individuals enter behavioral health clinic settings or the criminal justice system. The extent that the criminal justice system fails to appropriately respond to crises can drive higher and inequitable rates of criminal justice involvement and incarceration for people with behavioral health needs.

Dispatch Options

  • Percentage of 911 calls for behavioral health services
  • Number of co-responder teams per 100,000 people
  • Number of community responders per 100,000 people

Crisis Response Options Used

  • Percentage of behavioral health crisis calls (911 and 988) responded to by:
    • Community responder
    • Mobile crisis
    • Co-response
    • Law enforcement with behavioral health training
    • Other
  • Percentage of behavioral health crisis calls that:
    • Are resolved on the phone
    • Are resolved without dispatching law enforcement
    • Result in arrest
    • Are resolved at the scene
    • Result in an assault on an officer or use of force by an officer
    • Result in transport to crisis services
    • Result in emergency department bookings

Effective Crisis Resolution

For all people with identified behavioral health needs discharged from the emergency department, crisis services, or jail:

  • Percentage of individuals discharged into community-based treatment
  • Percentage of individuals who receive follow-up care within 48 hours by a clinical team
  • Percentage of individuals who are stable in the community for more than 45 days
  • Percentage of individuals who are connected to Coordinated Entry (for housing)
  • Rearrest rates within 45 days of discharge

>>>Race, ethnicity, gender, age, geography

Data Visualization

Public Health Meets Public Safety recognizes that corrections data is only one of many relevant datasets for understanding and impacting incarceration rates. Striking new ground, this project seeks to leverage data from multiple state and local sources to understand how policy changes (e.g., in health care or housing) impact incarceration rates.


These data visualizations are based on numerous publicly available datasets and stakeholder priorities. They are informed by the framework to allow users to make connections between county-level indicators and justice outcomes.  The main page shows a range of community measures and how they relate to the geography of California, as well as more detailed visuals of each measure. It also provides the ability to dive deeper into the measures overall.  The goal of the visualizations is to let the user explore a number of different important areas of social policy in one place. The visualizations will continue to grow over time with new data as well as analysis connected to relevant policy issues. Users can also access definitions of the measures and domains for more detail.

Lived Experience

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center sought to highlight the expertise of people who have lived experience with the justice system and who face behavioral health issues to inform policymaking at the intersection of criminal justice and behavioral health. Data collected from individuals with lived experience directly related to this population were analyzed and findings were presented. Researchers used peer-reviewed published literature and qualitative and non-Western research methodology to support a comprehensive examination of data sets. Six themes were identified, and data analysis revealed areas of need and effective solutions to meet those needs from participants’ views. The analysis produced six dominant themes: Community Environment, Treatment Landscape, Crisis Response, Presence of Trauma, Cultural Considerations, and Sense of Belonging.