Criminal Justice

Opioid use disorder (OUD) presents significant challenges within criminal justice settings, affecting individuals at various stages of the criminal justice system, including arrest, incarceration, and reentry into society. Many individuals involved in the criminal justice system have a history of opioid misuse, often stemming from factors such as untreated pain, trauma, and socioeconomic disadvantage. Inside correctional facilities, OUD prevalence is notably high, with limited access to evidence-based treatment and harm reduction services. This lack of access exacerbates the risk of opioid overdose, infectious disease transmission, and recidivism. Furthermore, individuals with OUD face numerous barriers upon reentry into society, including stigma, limited access to healthcare, housing, and employment opportunities, which can hinder their ability to achieve and maintain recovery. Addressing OUD within criminal justice settings requires comprehensive approaches that integrate prevention, treatment, and support services, as well as collaboration between healthcare providers, correctional staff, and community-based organizations to promote successful reintegration and reduce the cycle of incarceration and substance misuse.


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Tools & Resources

This toolkit provides correctional administrators and health care providers recommendations and tools for implementing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in correctional settings. It provides examples from the field that can be widely applied and adapted for programs that serve justice-involved individuals.

Information and resources to help you advocate for policies to improve addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery and remission in correctional settings.  

This guide provides information and practices that behavioral health providers can implement in their daily practice with patients or clients who are involved in the criminal justice system.

This guide examines the types of interventions that support successful reentry for adults with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders who are leaving jail/prison.

This guide focuses on using medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in jails and prisons and during the reentry process when justice -involved persons return to the community. It provides an overview of policies and evidence-based practices that reduce the risk of overdose and relapse.

A Tool for Local Government Officials, Jail Administrators, Correctional Officers, and Health Care Professionals is designed to support jails (including detention, holding, and lockup facilities) and communities in providing effective health care for adults (18 years of age and older) who are sentenced or awaiting sentencing to jail, awaiting court action on a current charge, or being held in custody for other reasons (e.g., violation of terms of probation or parole) and are at risk for or experiencing substance withdrawal.


There are strategies that can assist community leaders, local and regional organizers, non-profit groups, law enforcement, public health, and members of the public in understanding and navigating effective ways to prevent opioid overdose in their communities. Use this information as a reference for evidence-based practices that have been successfully implemented in the U.S.

This report is written for policymakers, administrators, and service providers committed to improving outcomes for the large number of adults with mental health and substance use disorders that cycle through the criminal justice system. It introduces an evidence-based framework for prioritizing scarce resources based on assessments of individuals’ risk of committing a future crime and their treatment and support needs. The report also outlines the principles and practices of the substance abuse, mental health, and corrections systems and proposes a structure for state and local agencies to build collaborative responses.

Posters & Infographics

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Webinars & Online Learning

Hosted by The Council of State Governments Justice Center, with Funding Support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, this recorded webinar is designed for Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program and Second Chance Act Reentry Program for Adults with Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders grantees and features speakers from three different grant programs that are utilizing MAT in jail and community-based settings for people involved in the justice system.

Hosted by the National Reentry Resource Center, with funding support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, this recorded webinar includes information on planning and coordination, behavioral health treatment, cognitive interventions, and community supervision practices as well as community resources such as housing and recovery support services.

Hosted by the National Reentry Resource Center with funding support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, this recorded webinar focusses on best practices for screening and assessment of people in the criminal justice system who have opioid addictions.

Upon completion of this online course participants should be able to: Understand pain and how opioids work in the body; Explain how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose; Understand the role of naloxone in an opioid overdose and how it can prevent an overdose death; and Demonstrate how to use the various formulations of naloxone.

Current News & Research

Re-envisioning How the Criminal Justice System Responds to the Opioid Crisis

Connecting justice-involved people with life saving medication treatment for opioid use disorder.

The Effectiveness of Interventions for Drug-Using Offenders in the Courts, Secure Establishments and the Community: A Systematic Review

Published in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, this systematic review evaluates the effectiveness of interventions, including MAT, drug courts, and therapeutic communities, for addressing substance use disorders among offenders.

Community-based Behavioral Health Services for Justice-involved Individuals

The Risk-Need-Responsivity Model: Empirically Based Treatment for Criminal Offenders