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Telehealth and Telecommunication Opportunities in the Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2021
2 pages

This brief identifies existing practices and proposes new ways to leverage telehealth and telecommunication technologies throughout the criminal justice system to improve outcomes for those with behavioral health and rehabilitation needs.


Having proven to be as effective as in-person health services, telehealth can support and monitor continuity of care and overcome barriers to participation in healthcare services for those who live in remote areas. Local criminal justice leaders are also using telecommunication in conducting court proceedings by video and facilitating diversion and reentry programs. For these efforts to be sustained and advanced, the required infrastructure must be in place. This means that criminal justice personnel must have the required technological devices, broadband access, and training in the implementation and management of appropriate technologies for various services. As a training aid, this brief describes and provides existing examples of telehealth approaches that can support criminal justice efforts. These include screening and assessment for behavioral health needs, collaborative comprehensive case management, counseling and group programming, and medication management. In addition to technologies that facilitate healthcare, this brief also describes telecommunication approaches that can support other criminal justice activities. These include case and court processing, virtual peer and family support communication, and virtual 12-step programs.

Date Published: January 1, 2021