What is the Sequential Intercept Model?

The Sequential Intercept Model is a conceptual model for use in treatment lessening the criminalization of persons with mental illness, emphasizing a collaboration between the behavioral health and criminal justice systems. The model identifies five key points for “intercepting” individuals with behavioral health issues, linking them to appropriate services in efforts to prevent further advancement into the criminal justice system. The Sequential Intercept Model highlights where to intercept individuals as they move through the criminal justice system.

Intercept 1: Community and Law Enforcement;

Intercept 2: Arrest and Initial Detention / Court Hearings;

Intercept 3: Jails / Specialty Courts (Mental Health Courts, Drug Courts);

Intercept 4: Re-entry from Jails and Prisons into the Community;

Intercept 5: Community Corrections and Community Support Services.

Resources on the Sequential Intercept Model:
SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation


Use of the sequential intercept model as an approach to decriminalization of people with serious mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 57(4), 544-549.
Retrieved from https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/ps.2006.57.4.544?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed& “

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