The CMHS National GAINS Center has operated since 1995 as a national locus for the collection and dissemination of information about effective mental health and substance abuse services for people with co-occurring disorders in contact with the justice system. The TAPA Center for Jail Diversion and the Center for Evidence-Based Programs in the Justice System, funded by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) in 2001 and 2004 respectively, comprise the National GAINS Center.
The GAINS Center's primary focus is on expanding access to community based services for adults diagnosed with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders at all points of contact with the justice system. The Center emphasizes the provision of consultation and technical assistance to help communities achieve integrated systems of mental health and substance abuse services for individuals in contact with the justice system. To achieve this, the Center builds on its acronym:
G - gathering information
A - assessing what works
I - interpreting/integrating the facts
N - networking
S - stimulating change
The GAINS Center is committed to the goal of transforming the nation's fragmented mental health system and developing a recovery-oriented, consumer-driven system of care as described in the report of the President's New Freedom Commission. The GAINS Center is uniquely poised to help states forge collaborations among the mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice systems. To accomplish this, the GAINS Center has developed a comprehensive plan of information dissemination, knowledge application and technical assistance strategies to further the implementation of evidence-based programs in the justice system. The GAINS Center supports and engages in creative initiatives and collaboration with public and private organizations to effectively address the evolving needs of state and local planning and coordination.