Program to Aid Criminal Justice Reform

On Monday, July 31, Mayor Joe Hogsett celebrated the launch of the city’s pilot Mobile Crisis Assistance Team (MCAT), an innovative approach to crisis response that comes as part of Mayor Hogsett’s plan for criminal justice reform. 

MCAT is based on an integrated health care model, bringing together the professional expertise of paramedics from Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS), police officers from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and crisis clinicians from Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health. The joint effort created a 24/7 team of crisis responders to legal, behavioral health, substance use and medical crises. This coordinated response is designed to improve treatment outcomes, assist individuals in making informed choices and returning to a healthy equilibrium, with the ultimate goal of diversion from arrest and connection with social services and treatment. 

To build upon the professional expertise and experience of MCAT personnel, the team spent two months participating in an in-depth training program. Training subjects ranged from mental health and addiction to homelessness and veterans’ issues, taught by an array of researchers, specialists and subject-matter experts. The team also visited a number of community partners with resources for those in need and facilities like the Marion County Jail and Reuben Engagement Center. 

MCAT became operational Aug. 1 in IMPD’s East District, an area that ranks high on the Social Disorder Index, with frequent 911 calls tied to mental health and emotional issues and a high volume of ambulance runs for medical emergencies. The pilot is the first of its kind in Marion County. 

MCAT will engage in on-scene intervention, employing one of the following strategies for resolution: 

  • De-escalate the situation and resolve on-scene 
  • If homeless and in need of mental health assessment or detox, transport to Reuben Engagement Center 
  • If acute behavioral health care is needed, transport to appropriate emergency department or crisis assessment center considering medical history and continuity of care 
  • If acute behavioral health and legal response are necessary, transport to Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital for psychiatric evaluation and treatment, followed by the Arrestee Processing Center where mental health intervention will continue. 

The MCAT pilot is a key initiative of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Criminal Justice Reform plan, which includes implementing national best practices, responding to community feedback and identifying opportunities for systemic change. The proposed reforms focus on assessment and intervention with solutions that address the root causes of crime, save taxpayer dollars and create a more just system, keeping those who do not belong in jail, out. 

For more information on the MCAT pilot, please send an email to MCAT-EAST@indianapolisems.org.


Media Contact:
Todd Harper
Phone: 317.880.4785
Pager: 317.310.5972 
Email: todd.harper@eskenazihealth.edu