Skip to main content

Intervention Research for Justice-Involved Individuals with Mental Illness

In partnership with the NC Department of Public Safety and the NC Department of Health and Human Services, as well as local criminal justice authorities, UNC School of Social Work researchers conduct research on and evaluate mental health criminal justice programs, policies, and practice; develop strategies to enhance the implementation and uptake of mental health criminal justice interventions; and use results to inform real-world decisions at the local and state level.

This program of research informs social work practice, policy, and future research to improve the lives of justice-involved individuals with mental illness throughout the criminal justice system (i.e., courts, jails, prisons, and probation/parole).

Research and Training Initiatives (selected)

  • A randomized controlled trial of an adaptation of motivational interviewing for participants in a local mental health court
  • A statewide mental health training program for probation officers in North Carolina
  • A randomized controlled trial of specialty mental health probation for probationers with severe mental illnesses
  • A study of a brief intervention for persons with mental illness with type II diabetes
  • A study of financial capability and participants in a local mental health court
  • A study of an adaptation of crisis intervention training for police officers and sheriffs who encounter individuals with mental illness
  • Validation studies of criminogenic risk assessment tools for probation and prisons
  • A study of mental health screening and triage in a local county jail

Research Team

  • Stacy Burgin, M.A.
  • Gary Cuddeback, Ph.D., MSW, MPH
  • Marilyn Ghezzi, MSW, LCSW
  • Ashley Givens, MSW
  • Evan Lowder, M.S.
  • Tonya Van Deinse, Ph.D., MSW
  • Amy Blank Wilson, Ph.D., MSW


Gary Cuddeback, 919-962-4363


Supplemental Materials

Video Discussions



Training Modules (This area is under construction. Please check back soon.)