BEST Partnership for Behavioral Health, Racial, and Social Justice

The Mission of the BEST Partnership for Behavioral Health and Racial and Social Justice is to improve outcomes for individuals with behavioral health challenges involved in the criminal justice system through services, training and evaluation/research and by addressing racial and social disparities.

Current Partnership Services:
For the Greater Boston community, BEST currently partners with the City of Boston, Boston Police Department (BPD), the Boston Municipal Courts, the Trial Court of Massachusetts and the Department of Mental Health to provide criminal justice diversion programs designed to provide evaluation and treatment services to individuals with behavioral health problems with the goals of diverting arrests, minimizing incarceration and fostering recovery. These programs include a Police Co-responder Program, Mental Health Court Program and Outpatient Assisted Treatment Program. Through additional support in FY’21 from the City of Boston and federal grants, these programs are being significantly expanded.

The partnership provides a longitudinal collaboration with short and long term goals of changing attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes for citizens of Boston, Boston Police and the criminal justice system through  a variety of training and educational opportunities to joint program staff, Boston Police, fellows, community at-large.

BEST Partnership Multicultural Training and Education Initiatives:

  • Mental Health and Psychological First Aid for all
  • Anti-Racist and Implicit Bias Training- longitudinal engagement
  • Case-based Truth and Reconciliation Program- longitudinal learning
  • Crisis intervention training
  • De-escalation training
  • Fellowship in Behavioral Health, Racial and Social Justice

    BEST Partnership Data Coordinating Center:

    The BEST Partnership for Behavioral Health, Racial, and Social Justice Data Coordinating Center (DCC) offers the necessary resources to house a centralized database linking data from BPD, the Massachusetts Trial Courts, BEST, and the Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment (BOAT) Program. Our team is comprised of Research Faculty, a research manager and coordinator, data analysts, and research and clinical postdoctoral fellows. Working with program leaders, the DCC team assists in the integration of program services and strengthens partnerships.

    Measurable Outcomes:

    • Reduction in police arrests
    • Reduction in ED visits
    • Reduction in duration of psychiatric hospitalizations
    • Change in police attitudes
    • Implicit Bias trainings for police, court, and behavioral health workforce
    • Decrease in unemployment rates among those with mental health disorders
    • Improve timely access to high quality behavioral health services