Juvenile Justice and Mental Health: using the Sequential Intercept Model to reform the system

The Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) is a useful model when considering reform of the criminal justice system for people experiencing poor mental health.  

See this earlier blog for a discussion of how SIM and therapeutic jurisprudence fit together.

In short, SIM identifies five points of “interception” that include a person’s:

  • first contact with police
  • first appearance in court
  • jail incarceration following arrest
  • reentry planning while incarcerated
  • and specialized parole after returning from incarceration.

Each of these points can focus efforts to develop alternatives to standard prosecution.

Combining SIM and TJ thinking, those interested in reform can consider:

  • At each point of interception, what laws and/or legal processes need to change to improve therapeutic outcomes?
  • What will improve therapeutic outcomes will be informed by the evidence base of other disciplines such as the behavioural and health sciences and/or psychology.

In a recent paper, Mentally Ill in the Juvenile Justice System: The Sequential Intercept Model Approach,  Melissa Idaliz Cintrón Hernández ( University of Puerto Rico, School of Law) applies the SIM to in the Juvenile Justice space.

Definitely worth a read if you are interested in exploring how SIM and TJ as frameworks for criminal justice reform in your jurisdiction.

Link to Melissa’s article here on SSRN.

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