Building New Horizons: Opening Career Pathways for Peers with Criminal Justice Backgrounds

This resource was created by SMI Adviser content partners and approved by the SMI Adviser clinical expert team for inclusion in the knowledge base.

Transform your perspective on peers with the comprehensive guide, “Building New Horizons: Opening Career Pathways for Peers with Criminal Justice Backgrounds.” It was created by SMI Adviser and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD).

This resource has three empowering modules: Pre-Hiring, Hiring, and Post-Hiring. Each module has:

  • Valuable takeaways on dozens of topics
  • Practical strategies you can apply to your organization
  • Resources to help you foster a more inclusive and impactful peer workforce

The guide ignites healing in an important way. It helps bridge the gap between participants in behavioral health programs and peer support specialists who have lived experiences in the criminal justice system. When we embrace this connection, we create a profound opportunity for genuine understanding, trust, and growth.

When you implement the strategies in this toolkit, it paves the way for positive change. It is a concrete step to embrace the power of peer support and envision a brighter future. You can:

  • Magnify the potential of your workforce
  • Unlock new levels of empathy and resilience
  • Invite staff into a journey towards inclusivity
  • Make a lasting impact on the lives of countless individuals and the community at large

It is typical for this work to often raise complex questions. So when you start to use the toolkit, there are resources you can tap into for expert guidance. Any mental health clinician or administrator can submit questions to SMI Adviser on topics around peer support and hiring practices. Receive a FREE, personalized answer within one business day from SMI Adviser’s national experts or NASMHPD’s team of experts on peer support. This service is completely free and confidential! You can even request free on-site technical assistance to implement recovery-friendly hiring practices. Experts in peer support can assist the staff of your clinic or practice to ensure that you can effectively hire, train, support and retain peers.



  • Was this Helpful ?
  • YesNo