The Center for Behavioral Health Services & Criminal Justice Research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), advances research that seeks to improve the welfare of people with mental illness in ways that minimize the disruption of treatment and maximize their potential to lead productive and rewarding lives. We achieve our mission by fostering collaborative, interdisciplinary research informed by the expertise of practitioners, policymakers, advocates, and consumers.

The Center, while “borderless,” is located at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. It is directed by Nancy Wolff (Rutgers), with Helene White (Rutgers) serving as Deputy Director. The Center’s Research, Methods, and Network cores are directed, respectively, by Steven Belenko (Temple University), and Richard Baron (University of Pennsylvania).

Together, under the auspices of the Research and Methods cores, researchers and stakeholders pursue timely, rigorous, and interdisciplinary services and intervention research. The Network Core builds and sustains social networks through local and web-based communities of practice. These networks are information highways for translating service and policy needs and problems to researchers and disseminating research evidence to practitioners and policy makers. Our practice laboratory supports the testing of interventions in community settings.

Our Mission

The Center for Behavioral Health Services & Criminal Justice Research seeks to improve the availability and effectiveness of services for individuals with mental illnesses who are involved with the criminal justice system.

The Center encourages researchers and stakeholders to work together to ensure that people with mental illness, with and without co-occurring substance use problems, receive access to evidence-based treatment services, employment and housing opportunities, and public benefits that will increase their prospects for living and thriving in the community.