DMHAS: Community Forensic Services

Community Forensic Services (CFS)

Loel Meckel, LCSW, Asst. Director, Forensic Services Division
phone 860 262-6735, fax 860 262-5841

Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT)
Contact: Colette Orszulak, MPH, RN, 
phone 860-262-6296; fax 860-262-5841;


Crisis Intervention Teams are a partnership program between the local police and the community provider network that provides training to law enforcement personnel and provides for a joint response to crisis in the community involving persons with behavioral health disorders.  The goal of CIT is to reduce the need for arrest in favor of referrals to appropriate treatment resources.  CIT provides trained clinicians in Hartford, New Haven, Norwich, Stamford, Bridgeport, Waterbury and Danbury to work collaboratively with CIT trained officers, providing Mental Health evaluation and recommendations when responding to crisis calls.

Jail Diversion/Court Liaison Program

Contact: Loel Meckel, LCSW,

phone 860-262-6735; fax 860-262-5841,

Jail Diversion/Court Liaison programs provide court-based services to persons with psychiatric and co-occurring (mental illness and substance abuse) disorders who are arrested on minor offenses. The primary function of the program is to facilitate access to appropriate treatment services by providing assessment, referral, and linkage to community mental health services.  Diversion staffs work to maintain individuals in community treatment services, inform court personnel of treatment compliance, and facilitate access to mental health services through contacts within the Department of Correction when an individual is incarcerated.  Diversion programs:

  • Reduce recidivism of persons with mental illness by providing access to appropriate treatment
  • Reduce incarceration of persons with mental illness charged with low-level offenses by providing alternative programs
  • Enhance public safety by freeing up jail beds for violent offenders
  • Provide humane and confidential care for persons with serious mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system
  • Provide judges with additional sentencing options
  • Increase cost-effectiveness of the court, DOC, and DMHAS through access to appropriate services for persons with psychiatric disabilities

Jail Diversion Substance Abuse Program (JDSA)

Contact: Loel Meckel, LCSW,

phone 860-262-6735; fax 860-262-5841,


The JDSA program provides immediate admission to residential detox and/or intensive residential treatment on the day of arraignment or rapid admission to IOP for adults in the Hartford courts with substance dependence who would otherwise be jailed. Services include referral to aftercare, intensive case management, sober house rent subsidy, other transitional housing options, client supports, monitor compliance, and compliance report to court.


Women's Jail Diversion Program (JDW)

Contact:  Loel Meckel, LCSW,

phone 860-262-6735; fax 860-262-5841,


JDW serves women at risk of incarceration in New Britain, Bristol, and New Haven courts.  Comprehensive treatment and support services promote recovery among women with histories of trauma through immediate access to a trauma informed and comprehensive system of care.  Services include treatment for trauma, mental illness, and substance abuse as well community support services and limited transitional housing.

In addition to referrals from court, JDW accepts referrals from Probation and Parole.  The program achieves significant reduction in incarceration and in future arrests.  

Alternative Drug Intervention (ADI)

Contact:  Loel Meckel, LCSW,

phone 860-262-6735; fax 860-262-5841,


ADI provides intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment to 100 to 120 New Haven residents per year.  It is the successor to the New Haven Drug Court, providing intensive case management, basic needs, employment, education and linkage to 12-Step groups.  Eighty-five percent of participants successfully complete the 6 month treatment program without re-arrest. 


Office of Pretrial Interventions

Contact:  Diana Heymann, LCSW,

phone 860-262-6104; fax 860-262-5841, 


There are presently two major programs included in this Office:

I.    Pretrial Alcohol Education Program (PAEP):
This program is available to first time offenders arrested for Operating a Motor Vehicle or Boating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OUI).  It is also an option for those individuals previously arrested for these offenses provided that the original offense was over ten years ago without any intervening arrests or convictions.  Finally, it is available for youths, under the age of 21, arrested for operation of a motor vehicle under zero-tolerance (0.02BAC).

This is a contracted program overseen by DMHAS that includes a clinical evaluation by a substance abuse professional, which results in a report, with recommendations, to the referring court.  These recommendations can be for one of the following:

1.   Level One Group Interaction:  15 hours (10 weeks of 1.5 hour classes) of evidence-based, intervention programming.

2.   Level Two Group Interaction:  22.5 hours (15 weeks of 1.5 hour classes) of evidence-based, intensive, intervention programming.

3.   Treatment (identified by level of care utilizing the CT Client Placement Criteria):  A minimum of 12 therapy sessions, in lieu of the intervention programming.

The costs are the responsibility of the participant unless they have been determined indigent by the referring court, in which case, DMHAS funds the treatment.


II.  Pretrial Drug Education Program (PDEP)
This program, also a contracted program overseen by DMHAS, is available to first time offenders, referred by the court who have been arrested for Possession of Drugs and/or Paraphernalia.  PDEP operates the same as PAEP above.

Contact:  Joseph Grzelak, Psy. D, CFS Program Manager
phone 860-262-5812; fax 860-262-5841;

CREST serves up to 30 individuals in New Haven who would not otherwise be diverted from or released from incarceration if not accepted into the program.  The intensive day reporting program provides daily monitoring and structured skill building and recovery support services for participants.  Services are provided in collaboration with clinical services at the DMHAS-operated Connecticut Mental Health Center to ensure comprehensive, individualized treatment.


Advanced Supervision and Intervention Support Team (ASIST)

Contact:  Joseph Grzelak, Psy. D, CFS Program Manager
phone 860-262-5812; fax 860-262-5841,

ASIST is the product of a unique collaboration among the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (CSSD), the Department of Correction, and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.  The program was developed to make existing Alternative to Incarceration Centers an accessible diversionary option to persons with significant psychiatric disorders.


ASIST is able to meet the unique needs of clients who require both packages of services - judicial supervision and mental health and substance abuse recovery services provided by DMHAS and CSSD treatment service providers.  The ASIST clinician forms a stable case management link that coordinates the services delivered by the AIC/service provider partnership, and closely monitors the impact of these services on client functioning and quality of life. ASIST also includes a component of skills training and cognitive behavioral intervention to reduce recidivism.


Contact:  Joseph Grzelak, Psy. D, CFS Program Manager
phone 860-262-5812; fax 860-262-5841;


The SIERRA Pre-Trial Center is a residential program for adults with serious psychiatric disabilities who are in jail awaiting court disposition of charges and can be safely released to the community in a structured residential program. This program is a collaboration with the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division that is operated by a private agency with clinical services provided by the DMHAS-operated Connecticut Mental Health Center. Services offered include a comprehensive program of case management, psychiatric monitoring, medication monitoring, motivational enhancement, cognitive restructuring and training, consistent supervision and supportive services. Sierra’s goal is to provide a safe transition to the community, enhance and individual’s ability to live successfully in the community and minimize their risk of recidivism. 


Return to: Forensic Services Division

Content Last Modified on 6/6/2016 11:49:02 AM