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Today an
important and intersecting area of the criminal justice system and health
policy is how to better handle a person in mental crisis who becomes integrated
in the criminal justice system.  People
who are experiencing a mental health crisis are more likely to encounter police
first because of their first responder status. 
When the fact is, they are in immediate need of medical assistance,
according to the (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2015).  Within the criminal justice system,
approximately sixty-four (64) percent of prison inmates are subjected to some form
of mental health challenge (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014).  Over the years, the law enforcement community
has struggled responding to these needs due to the absence of the specialized
training.  Law Enforcement agencies are
constantly enhancing policies to improve the initial interactions with
individuals who have behavioral health needs. 
Significant efforts by state legislatures have been focused on additional
training for the police when dealing with people who have behavioral needs and
are in crisis.  One of the main
objectives in training the law enforcement community, is to be able to recognize
the many symptoms of mental illnesses. In addition, through training, develop
the skill set needed to effectively engage with someone in crisis and
deescalate the incident.  The fact that a
caregiver is hesitant to dial 911 when seeking assistance with a person in
crisis, speaks volumes.  The fear that
the situation may escalate to needless danger for both the police and the
developmentally disabled is a strong indication of needed training for the law
enforcement professionals.

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Research shows that a gap in training and social
interaction places the law enforcement community at a disadvantage when
interacting with the mentally ill.  This gap
includes whether police officers know someone with a mental illness in their
private lives, helps determine how 

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