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Peer recovery support services

Trained peer specialists who have experience living with mental illnesses or co-occurring mental illnesses and substance use disorders and have histories of involvement in the criminal justice system provide guidance and support to people with similar experiences who are currently navigating complex systems. These peer specialists also directly facilitate connections with community-based care and services.

Local Examples

Richmond, VA

  • Certified Peer Recovery Specialists (CPRS) are contracted through a local organization, SAARA (Substance Abuse & Addiction Recovery Alliance of Virginia), to engage with Behavioral Health Docket participants. These specialists are supervised by Behavioral Health Docket clinicians and collaborate with all members of the Behavioral Health Docket team.
  • Through peer-to-peer relationships, the CPRS serve as role models, mentors, advocates, and motivators to Behavioral Health Docket participants in order to prevent relapse and promote lifelong recovery in the realms of mental health and substance use.
  • CPRS facilitate weekly Peer Recovery Groups to provide support and guidance to Behavioral Health Docket participants through every phase of the recovery journey. 
  • They also link Behavioral Health Docket participants to community resources and social supports based on their individual needs.
For more information on this example, see this resource:

Alachua County, FL

  • Two part-time peer specialists conduct jail in-reach and assist in connecting people to treatment at release
  • These peer specialists meet with people in the jail at the earliest point possible after they are screened for serious mental illness in order to develop relationships and aid in treatment initiation after release.



3 - Increase connection to treatment
4 - Reduce recidivism

Last updated: November 7, 2022