Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado

Criminal Justice and Brain Injury

The Brain Injury Alliance of  Colorado (BIAC) envisions our state to be one in which all survivors can thrive, including those that have been or are currently involved in the criminal justice system. Research shows that incarcerated individuals are 7 times more likely to have experienced a brain injury than the general population.

Our goal is to offer support for these individuals so they may improve their well-being and strengthen the greater community. We approach individuals involved in the system with the same compassion and nondiscriminatory mindset as we do for all survivors of an injury to the brain.

Prevalence of Brain Injury


(Shiroma, Ferguson, & Pickelsimer, 2010)

  • Over 2 million people are currently incarcerated (CDC)
  • TBI is associated with higher impulsivity, aggressive behavior and negative emotion ratings (Farrer, Frost, & Hedges, 2013)
  • Incarcerated individuals with brain injuries:
    • Greater risk of mental health disorders
    • More likely to abuse substances
    • Greater risk of suicidal ideation & attempts
    • 50% higher rate of recidivism
    • Lower treatment completion rates
    • Higher rates of disciplinary incidents

(Piccolino & Solberg, 2014)


(Sources and data notes: http://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/50statepie.html)

Our Work with Criminal Justice Professionals

Since 2014, BIAC has been partnering with agencies, universities, and state programs around Colorado to meet the needs of survivors and professionals in the criminal justice system. We have created educational materials, trained professionals, and received referrals throughout the state. Our effort is to engage professionals in the system, including law enforcement, judicial staff, court professionals, correctional personnel, and re-entry agencies to provide training, collaboration and support for survivors.


Dr. Kim Gorgens, Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver

                                                           – Justice-involved Survivor, Adams County Probation


Justice-involved Survivor, Denver County Jail

 

BIAC’s Policy

As a 501(c)(3) we are a nonpartisan agency. BIAC uses our expertise in community resources to provide support directly to survivors and professionals in a criminal justice context.
BIAC embraces a trauma-informed approach in all services and we recognize potential sensitivity to criminal justice related matter. Please note:

  1. We help individuals implement brain injury informed strategies to assist in overcoming challenges, build on strengths, and reduce risk factors that contribute to recidivism.
  2. We do not believe that having a brain injury excludes individuals from accountability nor does it excuse behavior. 
  3. We provide training and outreach to law enforcement and criminal justice professionals.
  4. We do not provide legal advocacy or legal testimony on an individual’s behalf, at this time.
  5. We are not medical professionals nor do we provide clinical consultations or recommendations.

BIAC’s Work in the Media

US News and World Report: Traumatic Brain Injury and Incarceration: Ending a Vicious Cycle

US News and World Report: Colorado Jail Helps Inmates Who Have Suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Denver Post

Newsweek

ABC15

Additional Information about Brain Injury in Criminal Justice

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Traumatic Brain Injury in Prisons and Jails

BRAIN INJURY Professionals: The Under-identification of Brain Injuries and the Relationship with Juvenile (and Eventually Adult) Criminal Justice Involvement

 

Request a Training

Refer a Client for Support

 

Contact Information

Jaime Horsfall, MA, CBIS

Deputy Director of Professional Programs
Email: Jaime@BIAColorado.org