Brooklyn Forensic LINK and TASC Mental Health Court Diversion and Reentry Programs

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Brooklyn Forensic LINK is comprised of two programs for individuals with a serious mental illness: - an alternative to incarceration/diversion program - a criminal justice reentry program

The alternative to incarceration program is designed to clinically assess defendants charged with felonies or misdemeanors for the presence of psychiatric and/or substance use disorders, refer eligible defendants to treatment in the community, monitor their progress, and communicate this progress to the Brooklyn Criminal Justice System. Our alternative to incarceration program works exclusively with individuals who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, with the goal of diverting these individuals away from the traditional correctional system. Instead, the focus is on individualized approaches to rehabilitation and risk management.

The Brooklyn LINK team collaborates with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, the defense bar, and the Brooklyn Treatment Courts to identify and evaluate individuals who may be appropriate for mental health diversion services. Using empirically-validated testing batteries, Brooklyn LINK provides in-depth diagnostic evaluation of the defendant including diagnostic, cognitive, personality, malingering, and violence risk assessment, and identifies appropriate treatment resources that can meet the needs of the individual. Results of the assessments are communicated to the courts via formal forensic reports.

If a defendant is considered eligible for alternative to incarceration through Broolyn LINK and all parties in court agree to this disposition, he or she must take a conditional plea. By taking this plea the defendant agrees to have his or her sentence deferred until he or she has completed the goals of the treatment plan designed by Brooklyn LINK, and has been compliant with the rules and regulations set forth by the courts. Brooklyn LINK accepts a variety of referrals from the Brooklyn Supreme and Criminal Courts, including the Domestic Violence Court, the Special Victims Court, and the Specialized Treatment Courts. In addition, the Staten Island LINK program manages all cases in the Staten Island Mental Health Court and other court parts. Defendants referred to Brooklyn & Staten Island LINK diversion programs have been charged with a variety of violent and non-violent offenses. In addition, they present with a variety of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders, and range in age (16 and up) and cultural backgrounds.

The second program provided by Brooklyn Forensic LINK is a criminal justice reentry program for individuals incarcerated at Rikers Island who have completed their sentences and will be reentering the community and residing in Brooklyn or Staten Island. This program provides assessments and transitional case management support for seriously mentally ill individuals. Services include outreach to clients before and after they are released from Rikers, as well as post-release case management. Case management may include vocational training, assistance with housing, Mapping Enhanced Counseling (MHA), an intervention focused on treatment retention, relapse, and criminogenic thinking; Consumer Centered Family Consultation (CCFC), an intervention focused on family re-integration; and Interactive Journaling, an intervention focused on criminal thinking.

PSYCHOLOGY EXTERNSHIP POSITION: Psychology externs will be part of a clinical team of masters level forensic case managers, a clinical social worker, a licensed psychologist and a psychiatrist. Trainees will be mostly involved in diversion cases although could also be involved in re-entry cases with clients that are difficult to engage or require psychological testing.

Please note that this is primarily a forensic assessment externship. Doctoral externs will conduct forensic psychological evaluations for the courts with a special focus on violence risk assessment, present cases to the psychologists and psychiatrist during clinical meetings and supervision, and become involved in treatment planning. Once a defendant has been accepted for diversion, externs may be responsible for making referrals to treatment providers, monitoring the individual for progress and compliance, and providing the courts with regular updates on treatment progress. Trainees will be involved in communications with defense attorneys, prosecutors and treatment providers involved in their clients' cases. Most of the evaluations take place in the Supreme and Criminal court building and in the Brooklyn LINK office, located in Brooklyn Heights. Evaluations are conducted either through Video Conference from Rikers Island, or in the court basement cells. Occasionally, externs will need to go to the Staten Island court house to conduct evaluations or attend court hearings (the SI court is located within walking distance of the ferry). Also occasionally, externs may conduct evaluations at other facilities where defendants are housed while being restored to competency.

Decisions about eligibility for diversion are made based on a variety of factors, such as the presence of a psychiatric disorder, substance abuse disorder, malingering, level of violence and recidivism risk, competency to make decisions regarding treatment, and motivation for treatment. Even though externs will not be conducting CPL 730 evaluations, many of the defendants referred to the Brooklyn LINK Diversion Program are psychiatrically unstable at the time of the initial assessment and an adjudicative competency evaluation may be warranted. Externs will be trained on how to assess for signs and symptoms that may render a defendant incompetent to proceed and how to communicate this information to the defense attorneys and the courts so that a CPL 730 can be ordered. Externs will learn how to use violence risk assessment instruments (e.g., HCR-20), how to incorporate the results of a risk assessment into a comprehensive report, and how to communicate risk levels to the courts. In addition, externs will be conducting testing for the purpose of diagnostic clarification and personality assessment, assessment of malingering, and assessment of cognitive impairments. Testing materials available include the PAI, MMPI-2-RF, SIRS-2, M-FAST, TOMM, TONI-4, R-BANS, WTAR, WAIS-IV and WASI. Externs will gain knowledge in the areas of public mental health and criminal justice systems. In addition, they will learn to conduct clinical interviewing, personality assessment, and psychosocial assessments, as well as to formulate, conceptualize and present cases, and make appropriate treatment recommendations based on the defendants’ level of risk and severity of mental illness and substance abuse. Externs will also be trained in how to implement a Cognitive Behavioral intervention to target criminogenic thinking, which they will then utilize in their monitoring of their individual clients.

In addition to the clinical experience, Brooklyn LINK with other EAC Network’s criminal justice diversion programs, has several ongoing research projects. Externs can become involved in research depending on trainees’ particular interests and time availability.

Externs will work directly under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist. Externs will receive weekly face-to-face supervision with the clinical director, a licensed clinical psychologist. In addition, they will attend regular clinical meetings and case conferences.

Requirements 1. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a clinical psychology doctoral program and have some prior assessment experience. Advanced doctoral students are preferred. 2. Good communication skills, both oral and written. Ability to work cooperatively with treatment and mental health systems. Preferred but not required: Some experience with forensic report-writing or experience working with forensic populations.

Time Commitment: Two days a week from 9 AM to 5 PM. July 2017 to June 2018.

To Apply: Email letter of interest, two letters of recommendation, current curriculum vitae, and two assessment writing samples to Applications are reviewed beginning January 16th (following the Consortium guidelines) and interviews by invitation will be held in January and February on a rolling admission basis. If you would like to speak with someone prior to submitting your application, please contact:

Melodie Foellmi, Ph.D. Clinical Director Brooklyn & Staten Island Forensic LINK 175 Remsen Street, suite 500 11201 Brooklyn, New York

Note: Although externs will be meeting regularly with defendants, these sessions are for the purpose of counseling and monitoring. This is primarily an assessment and not a therapy externship.

Contact Information

Name of Externship: Brooklyn Forensic LINK and TASC Mental Health Court Diversion and Reentry Programs

Name of Director/Coordinator: Melodie Foellmi, Ph.D

Street Address: 175 Remsen Street. Suite 500 Brooklyn. NY. 11201

Telephone: 718-975-0180 Fax: 718-975-1190 Email:

General Information

Start Date: July 2014 End Date: June 2015

Appropriate for:


Scheduling: 2 days a week, from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays preferred.

Preferred level of readiness: Prior assessment and clinical experience preferred

Is there a stipend for externs?


What materials need to be submitted?

  • Letter of application
  • CV
  • Two samples of written clinical material (psychological test report and/or case summary)
  • Letter of readiness

How should it be submitted?

email to Dr. Melodie Foellmi at

Description of Externship

Populations commonly served:

Some Adolescents
Primarily Adults

Training models offered:


Intervention training experiences commonly offered:

Psychological Assessment
Forensic Assessment
Monitoring for courts
CBT for criminogenic thinking
DBT skills

Assessment training experiences commonly offered:

Forensic Assessment (e.g., violence risk assessment, malingering)
Diagnostic Assessment
Personality Assessment
Cognitive Assessment
Neuropsychological Assessment (screening)
Forensic report writing
Mental Status Exam


Estimated hours/week of individual supervision: 1 Estimated hours/week of group supervision: 1

Other Comments

Although externs provide supportive counseling, crisis intervention and engagement interventions to individuals throughout their court mandate or reentry process, this is primarily an assessment and not a therapy externship.