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Financially Sustaining Behavioral Health-Criminal Justice Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2021
2 pages

Recognizing that justice involvement among people with mental illnesses and substance-use disorders requires tailored responses and interventions that are costly, this brief outlines key strategies and suggestions for financially sustaining criminal justice behavioral health programs.


The recommendations are in four major action categories: 1) Establish a clear mission and goals; 2) Build and leverage relationships; 3) Anticipate funding gaps and identify opportunities; 4) Demonstrate impact to maintain and secure additional funding. A clear mission and goals suggest sustainability and should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Building and leveraging relationships and partnerships facilitates mobilizing and influencing potential funders, sharing resources, and the publicizing of program impacts. Anticipating funding gaps and identifying opportunities indicate the benefits of a service for which funding is needed and the preciseness of the amount of funding needed to achieve the benefits. Demonstrating the impact of a program’s operation is persuasive for funders who need assurance that the investment will be cost-effective, and it can also facilitate the movement of funds from ineffective program components to those that are effective.