The Sequential Intercept Model: Next Steps How to Maximize your SIM Mapping Workshop

Communities see immediate benefits from a Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) mapping workshop through increased stakeholder communication and collaboration, as well as through the subsequent delivery of a map and report that document critical conversations and planning for improvements to local efforts to divert people with behavioral health disorders from the justice system.

However, the real challenge of the work lies in the weeks and months following the SIM mapping workshop, when the collaborative group must move forward and dedicate time and resources to continue the work explored during the workshop, including furthering the action plans.

This page provides resources for communities to maximize next steps following participation in a SIM mapping workshop, including immediate, short-term, and long-term strategies.

Initial and Short-term Next Steps Following a SIM

Identify where this ongoing work will “live”

PRA provides communities with two formal products following facilitation of a SIM

  1. A visual map that illustrates how people with mental and substance use disorders come in contact with and flow through the local criminal justice system.
  2. A full report. The report will include local opportunities and gaps within each Intercept, a list of identified priorities for change, action planning work completed during the SIM, PRA’s SIM facilitator recommendations, and additional topical resources.
SIM Mapping Report
The Sequential Intercept Model

The SIM report and map are meant to be “living documents,” able to be revisited and updated by each community regularly. After receiving the final copy of your SIM report and map, continue to flesh out the action planning charts, including:

  • Filling in any missing information and including relevant stakeholders within each objective/action step
  • Confirming and updating timelines for each action step. It is important that leaders set timelines in order to ensure efforts move forward. These timelines should be revisited to analyze what factors may be serving as barriers to progress in order to leverage positional power or collaboration to overcome those barriers.
SIM mapping workshop in action

Many jurisdictions have a criminal justice advisory council, planning board, or representative body already in place for making decisions related to the justice system. This can be a natural group to absorb follow-up related to the SIM workshop and report. If an appropriate group does not already exist, continue to shape efforts by formalizing a county-wide Criminal Justice/Behavioral Health Planning Body to address the needs of justice-involved persons with mental and substance use disorders.

In January 2018, SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation hosted a webinar in which three jurisdictions presented information on how members of their criminal justice coordinating councils (CJCCs) were supporting the creation of more robust continuums of behavioral health services in their communities. At that time, the GAINS Center released tip sheets for sheriffs, public defenders, judges, prosecutors, police chiefs, and chief magistrates who serve on CJCCs. Three additional tip sheets have subsequently been released for chief probation and parole officers, county commissioners, and trial court administrators.

Build on the collaboration present at the SIM

Expand your network of stakeholders

There is a need for ongoing dialogue, joint planning, and increasing awareness regarding system resources. Reach out to any relevant stakeholders who may not have been present during the SIM workshop to include them in future planning.

Engage support from local officials

Implementation of initiatives to increase diversion opportunities will require involvement of a broad group of stakeholders with sufficient authority to impact state-, county-, and municipal-level change. Designate an individual on your task force to serve as a State Liaison or invite state office personnel to local meetings so the local concerns on key issues can be addressed at the highest levels.

Integrate individuals with mental illness (peers), those who have been formerly incarcerated, victim advocates and family members, etc. into ongoing and future efforts

Develop or amend a mission statement, vision statement, and guiding principles for the group

Members should meet regularly (monthly or quarterly) to review data and propose adjustments to the strategies as needed. Consider creating subcommittees to address specific action plans that were developed during the SIM workshop.

Consider integrating your SIM-related work with relevant national initiatives

Capitalize on your SIM work when applying for other funding to show current and future priorities, as well as dedication to the work. National initiatives that may be of interest include:

Moving Forward: Long-term Strategies for Action Planning

As you continue your post-SIM work, it is important to collect data to inform program development, implementation, and improvement. Improving cross-system data collection and integration is key to identifying high-user populations, justifying expansion of programs, and measuring program outcomes and success.

In addition to studying outcomes, many communities perform a cost-benefit analysis of criminal justice reforms, including items related to crime, drug use, education, employment, family functioning, and mental health.

Planning for sustainability of initiatives should begin at the inception of the project. Many jurisdictions see progress when they pilot new programs or initiatives for a trial period, with commitments for funding upon the realization of benefits and positive outcomes at the end of the pilot. Some communities are able to support new programs and initiatives through braided funding, social impact bonds, pay for success contracts, and other creative funding approaches.

Consider involving your local media to increase accountability and encourage momentum. Holding a forensic conference to inform stakeholders about the SIM workshop priorities and recommendations may expand awareness of relevant issues, provide an opportunity to solicit input for on-going planning, and improve networking and collaboration among stakeholders.

Maintain Your Relationship with PRA

Share your progress with us! PRA is always interested in hearing and publicizing how the SIM has made an impact on local criminal justice and behavioral health work.

PRA supports communities whenever possible. Many communities have contracted with PRA to receive a SIM workshop “update,” a deeper dive into one or more Intercepts, or other formal follow-up technical assistance. For more information on any of our services, please call (518) 439-7415 or send an email to pra@prainc.com.

Created By
Policy Research Associates


Created with images by Rocco Farano • Brooke Cagle - "Sponsored by Google Chromebooks" • rawpixel - "achievement agreement business" • Thomas Drouault - "Brainstorming"

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