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Mental Health Center of Denver



Mental Health Center of Denver
Denver Criminal Justice Initiative

MHCD’s mission “Enriching Lives and Minds by Focusing on Strengths and Recovery” is the guiding force behind our strengths-based, recovery oriented treatment philosophy. Consumers are involved with shaping their own recovery which gives them a real chance to regain control over their lives. A large segment of the offender population has experienced homelessness, which has its own unique culture and values. Another important consideration is the large percentage of participants who have a history of trauma or exposure to violence. It is challenging to identify the belief systems of an entire group of individuals, each with distinct life experiences, cultures and belief systems. Through development of an individualized service plan at program entry, an individual’s own cultural considerations will be honored and incorporated into treatment planning thus increasing the likelihood of successful recovery.


In September 2007, MHCD implemented a mental health service program for juvenile and adult offenders with mental health problems who are involved in the criminal justice system, the Denver Criminal Justice Initiative (DCJI), with funding from Senate Bill 07-097 provided through the Colorado Division of Mental Health. The DCJI program has increased community capacity to outreach and engage adult offenders into evidence based practices such as Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment (IDDT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and the Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Program (TREM). These evidence-based treatment services have been demonstrated to reduce recidivism, mental health symptoms and substance abuse issues over the course of treatment.
The program also allowed MHCD to increase capacity for juvenile offenders in the Intensive Inhome


Family Therapy and the Systems of Care/Family Advocacy programs which employ family-focused interventions supported by community-based wraparound child and family support plans. The treatment interventions include structural strategies designed to change patterns and practices in family subsystems that may contribute to delinquent behavior. The additional funding provided in fiscal year 2009-10 was used to add a school-based clinician at Smiley Middle School.


The mental health status and recovery service needs of offenders referred to MHCD for admission to the DCJI program are assessed through a Contact and Triage form completed at the time of the initial referral, and a Multidisciplinary Assessment Tool and the Colorado Client Assessment Record completed through a clinical interview at the time of admission. In addition, the mental health and recovery status of adult offenders are assessed at admission and at six (6) month intervals using MHCD’s proprietary Recovery Needs Level Rating instrument.


Target Population of Adults:


  • Adults, 18 years and older;
  • Who are diagnosed by a mental health professional as having a Serious Mental Illness (SMI);
  • Who are involved in the criminal justice system (defined as charged with or adjudicated for an offense); and
  • Who reside in or are homeless within the City and County of Denver.


Target Population of Juveniles:


  • Youth between the ages of 10-17;
  • Who are diagnosed by a mental health professional as having a Serious Emotional Disorder (SED);
  • Who are involved with the juvenile justice system; and/or
  • Youth with co-occurring disorders of mental illness and substance abuse.


Contact Information

Beth Coleman, MS
Director of Managed Care
4141 E Dickinson Place
Denver, CO 80222

Adult Program
Jay Flynn, JD
Deputy Director Adult Recovery Services
1733 Vine Street
Denver, CO 80206


Juvenile Program
Dawn Wilson, PhD
Intensive In-Home Services Program Manager
1405 N Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80204

Mental Health Center of Denver
Website: http://www.mhcd.org/