This article discusses research findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis of the Crisis Intervention Team in order to reduce reliance on incarceration as substitute mental health institutions, and to train police officers about mental illness.
Until the 1950s, state mental health hospitals accommodated the majority of individuals suffering from mental illness. Today, however, following the closing of state mental hospitals, persons with serious mental illness who have inadequate private care are three times more likely to be housed in a jail or prison than in a hospital. The consequences associated with increased contact between the criminal justice system and the mentally ill necessitates a comprehensive strategy that targets improvement in interaction between the criminal justice system and the mentally ill. This article reports on findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), a widely adopted program implemented in police departments, in an effort to reduce reliance on incarceration as makeshift mental health institutions, and to train officers about mental illness. The findings of this review and meta-analysis reveal null effects of CITs on arrests of persons with mental illness (d = 0.180, p = .495) and on police officer safety (d = −0.301, p = .191). These results do not suggest that CIT programs should be discontinued. However, potential improvements to program implementation and evaluation are discussed. Publisher Abstract Provided