Criminal Justice


On January 17, 2018, on behalf of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the SOAR Technical Assistance (TA) Center announced the second round of recipients of the SOAR Criminal Justice (CJ) TA Awards.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance Center is accepting applications from Criminal Justice agencies and institutions that have not yet participated in the federally sponsored SOAR Technical Assistance Program.

Some frequently asked questions regarding justice-involved persons and SSI/SSDI benefits.

Communities across the country are increasingly working to implement SOAR specifically in criminal justice settings to connect individuals with key income supports and other benefits, such as health insurance—playing a role in maximizing connections to essential care, income, and housing. These tools and worksheets are designed specifically for providers working with people in the criminal justice system to help them through the SSI/SSDI application process.

Living in an institutional setting will affect SSI benefits. There are differences between state institutional settings and non-state institutional settings.


This webinar, held on Wednesday, October 24, was presented by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center in partnership with the SAMHSA GAINS Center.  We explored how SOAR implementation in criminal justice settings can be a strong reentry tool to increase housing stability and promote post-release success.

Issue Briefs

This issue brief, developed by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center describes best practices for increasing access to SSI/SSDI benefits for people with mental illness who are reentering the community from jails and prisons.

SOAR Voices Blogs

Just imagine going to bed knowing that your bills are paid, your health care is covered, and that you have no worries of what you will eat the next day, only to awake with none of that certainty.  Then, imagine that in addition to these uncertainties, you are now required to enroll in and pay for classes that will help to “rehabilitate” you.  You must also find a job, although the likelihood of getting one that will sustain housing is bleak, especially when you have previously struggled to maintain employment.

Returning to the community from jail or prison is a transition often met with fear. Upon reentering society, newly released citizens may struggle with substance use disorders, lack of adequate education, insufficient job skills, and inadequate housing options. People with serious mental illness return to communities with symptoms that may be exasperated by the stress of being incarcerated, fears associated with returning to old neighborhoods, and angst surrounding the expectation to overcome barriers by sheer will and determination to succeed.

On March 1, 2017, on behalf of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the SOAR Technical Assistance (TA) Center announced the first recipients of the SOAR Criminal Justice (CJ) TA Awards! The awards focused exclusively on CJ settings and agencies that provide services to people who are justice involved. Through this award, recipients improve their efforts in connecting individuals leaving correctional facilities to the resources needed in an effort to promote success.