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For Immediate Release
Posted: March 27, 2024


Sequential Intercept Map Report for Hillsborough County North Region Points to Housing Need for Those in the Court System with Mental Illness or Substance Use Challenges

First in Statewide Series of County-by-County Reports Aimed at Improving Justice Outcomes

Watch: Video of Manchester Sequential Intercept Mapping Workshop

Manchester, NH – The New Hampshire Judicial Branch today released a comprehensive report produced as a result of the recent Sequential Intercept Mapping or SIM workshop that took place at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, focusing on the Hillsborough County North region.  The Manchester SIM workshop was the first of a statewide county-by-county effort bringing together law enforcement, corrections, the courts and prosecutors with health care and service providers pursuing a common goal of improving outcomes for individuals with a mental health or substance use disorder currently or potentially involved in the criminal justice system. 

The Manchester SIM Report contains the following key action plans developed jointly by stakeholders who participated in the Manchester SIM workshop:

  • Improve the housing options for justice-involved individuals with serious mental illness and/or a substance use disorder.
  • Create a pretrial diversion program for Hillsborough County-North.
  • Collaborate with those seeking to pass new legislation establishing a commission to study the restoration of competency, and, if the legislation passes, collaborate with the study commission.  
  • Create a Collaborative Community Response Round Table network for Hillsborough County-North to educate key community stakeholders about the benefits of recovery housing.

SIM workshops are a national model taking a science and evidence-based approach to bring together various law enforcement agencies such as prosecutors, police and corrections officials with nonprofit organizations and community-based human service and healthcare providers and persons with lived experience. With everyone in one room, the participants – with the help of facilitators – brainstorm all the different intercepts or incidents of interactivity between those with mental illness or substance use disorder and the criminal justice system, from arrest to incarceration and re-entry.

Key partners joining the Judicial Branch in bringing together the key stakeholders for the Manchester SIM Workshop include Elliot Hospital, a member of Solution Health, Manchester-based nonprofit Makin’ it Happen, and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for Health Policy and Practice.

Judicial Branch Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator Anne Zinkin served as one of the facilitators of the workshop and authored the report.

“We know that housing is such a critical component that can impact the foundation of mental health for individuals who are either in the criminal justice system, or at risk of becoming justice involved,” said Zinkin. “Lack of stable housing can be very traumatic, and this trauma exacerbates challenges with mental illness and substance use, which can also impact criminal behaviors. The Manchester SIM workshop was so valuable at bringing together stakeholders and determining where gaps in critical services exist. We come out of this experience with stronger partnerships with each other to work on these shared challenges, and real action plans to improve outcomes for vulnerable individuals and families as well as enhance the public safety of our communities in the Hillsborough North region.”

“We are grateful for the collective work we have completed to date – working together as a group, and using the key takeaways from our workshop, we are poised to make a significant impact in our efforts to support individuals who are or may become involved in the criminal justice system due to a mental health or substance use disorder,” said Elliot Health System Director of Substance Use Services Annette Escalante, MSW, MLADC. “We are grateful for the commitment and focus of so many in our community to move this work forward for the betterment of our community.”

“I’m thrilled to see the final product of this fantastic collaboration,” said Manchester Mayor Jay Ruais. “This critical effort seeks to break the cycle of addiction and mental health crisis that creates a revolving door from our prisons to our streets. This effort will undoubtedly improve outcomes and make a dramatic difference for those in need of housing and other supports.”

Mary Forsythe-Taber, Executive Director Makin’ It Happen, said, “Partnering with the New Hampshire Judicial Branch to bring the Sequential Intercept Mapping workshop to Hillsborough North has jump started our commitment to coordinate and improve our efforts in support of justice-involved individuals with serious mental health and/or substance use disorder. The SIM workshop report creates a blueprint that will bolster our collective efforts.”

SIM workshops are being coordinated for the rest of 2024 in all counties in New Hampshire as part of a broader Mental Health Initiative launched in 2023 under the direction and leadership of Supreme Court Chief Justice Gordon J. MacDonald and Dianne Martin, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.