How a Colorado town is untangling behavioral health care from the criminal justice system

Acting on a recognition that police and the criminal justice system are too involved in responses to mental health and substance abuse crises, UCHealth formed mental health response teams that partner with Fort Collins police on such calls. In about 80% of calls the teams handled, no arrests were made while people received treatment or were referred to needed services. This program plus one that diverts certain criminal cases into treatment, which can result in dismissal of charges, have built-in drawbacks but have begun de-emphasizing criminal-justice remedies when people need other help.

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