Mental Health and the Justice System in Durham County (2022-2023)

Mental illness is over-represented in the incarcerated population, and the Durham County Detention Facility is not an exception. While Durham has many programs that support people within the criminal justice system suffering from mental illness, it is essential to determine which programs are helpful to effectively deploy limited public resources. Medical services can also play an important role in supporting the most vulnerable citizens of our communities and alleviating the burden of the criminal justice system. 

Building off the work of the 2021-2022 team, this project team examined the trajectories and patterns of usage of medical and criminal justice services for those involved in the Durham County Criminal Justice System; explored the effects of local and state policies on recidivism and the use of mental health resources; and provided recommendations regarding the detention facility population’s needs and service usage.

Team members created an interactive map of Durham County using data from Duke Health, Durham County Detention Facility (DCDF) and the American Community Survey (ACS) to analyze Duke healthcare usage, booking rates and socioeconomic factors among those incarcerated in Durham. They also developed a policy brief recommending improvements to the county’s Mental Health Specialty Court.


Fall 2022 – Spring 2023

Team Outputs

Helping Durham Understand Justice Involvement (2023 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Mental Health and the Justice System in Durham County (poster by Jordan Hamelsky, Liz Huynh, Bella Larsen, Maya Pandey, Zoe Svec, Jose Pliego San Martin, Nicole Schramm-Sapyta and Maria Tackett, presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 19, 2023)

Interactive map of Durham County

Examining the Intersection of Cash Bail Reform, Re-Arrest, Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorder (poster presented at Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health, April 2023)


Jordan Hamelsky

This Team in the News

Finding Solutions Together

Meet the Members of the 2022-2023 Student Advisory Council

Graduate and Professional Student Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2023

See related Data+ summer project, Mental Health and the Justice System in Durham County (2022), and related teams, Mental Health and the Justice System in Durham County (2023-2024) and Mental Health and the Justice System in Durham County (2021-2022).


Image: Art installation outside Durham Police Department headquarters


Team Leaders

  • Nicole Schramm-Sapyta, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
  • Maria Tackett, Arts & Sciences-Statistical Science

/graduate Team Members

  • Jose Pliego San Martin, Statistical Science - MS

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Kexin Feng, Philosophy (AB)
  • Jordan Hamelsky, Statistical Science (BS)
  • Luong Huynh, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Isabella Larsen, Psychology (AB)
  • Maya Pandey, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Zoe Svec, Statistical Science (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Michele Easter, School of Medicine-Psychiatry: Social and Community Psychiatry

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Durham County Detention Facility
  • Justice Services Department