The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee was established to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and current initiatives regarding substance abuse and mental health treatment and services. Substance abuse is the leading cause of increasing prison populations and specifically, female prison populations. Mental health issues are also a major contributor to increases in incarceration. The Committee focuses on prevention, alternatives, institutional care, case management, release planning, continuation of care and best practices with limited resources. Specific goals include:
• Identification of good, evidence-based best practices;
• Collaboration with Federal partners such as NIC, SAMHSA, and BJA;
• Collaboration with organizational partners such as CSG, NASADAD and NASMHPD;
• Advocacy for both preventative and community-based alternatives; and
• Collaboration with state and local partners such as state mental health directors and state substance abuse directors.

Message from the Chair

Kaemingk, denny pic small Denny Kaemingk (SD), Chair
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee

I want to thank all of the members that continue to contribute to the work of this committee. I enjoy chairing this committee and appreciate the support and contributions of the committee members. As we all know, the corrections field is the largest provider of mental health services in the United States. This is nothing new to any of us, although it is not widely understood in the general public. This is a tremendous responsibility, one that states can be reluctant to tackle, but a subject that needs more attention.

Our work continues in the area of Restrictive Housing and the inmates that need mental health services are a significant part of that reform effort, as it is specifically mentioned in two of our thirteen ASCA principles. The work of the Mental Health Work Group is completed and Bernie Warner and his work group are to be commended. We will continue to extend our reach to the several partners in the field who can help us leverage our responsibilities with their skills and assets.

Thank you again for your work and support of this very important area.

Members of the Committee


John Baldwin (IL)


Leann Bertsch (ND)

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Rollin Cook (UT)

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Julie Jones (FL)

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Denny Kaemingk (SD)


Robert Lampert (WY)


James Le Blanc (LA)


Bruce Lemmon

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Brad Livingston

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Joseph Ponte (NYC)


Jim Rubenstein (WV)


Charles Ryan (AZ)


Derrick Schofield

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Scott Semple (CT)

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Luis Spencer

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Edward Wall

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee Leadership

Denny Kaemingk (SD), Chair

Reminder: If you see any documents or information that is out of date please contact so that the issue can be addressed as soon as possible. Thank you for your help in keeping this information as current as possible.