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Six Questions Case Studies: Question 4: Have We Conducted a Comprehensive Process Analysis and Inventory of Services?
An opportunity exists at every step along the criminal justice continuum to improve responses to a person’s mental health needs. Completing a comprehensive process analysis helps county leaders determine where improvements can be made to better identify needs and share information. Some counties choose to conduct an initial analysis through a system mapping exercise. It is important that an inventory of community-based services and supports also be conducted as part of this process, and data to support this analysis should be included at all possible points. For example, knowing the current number of people who have mental illness who are booked into jail helps county leaders determine the scale of the problem they are working to address and can be used to the compare arrest rates of people who have mental illness to people who do not. Read More
Six Questions Case Studies: Question 5: Have We Prioritized Policy, Practice and Funding Improvements?
Counties should prioritize policies and processes that will impact one or more of the four key measures: reducing jail bookings, shortening length of stay, increasing connections to treatment and reducing recidivism. County leaders should provide guidance to the planning team on how to make policy recommendations and budget requests that are practical, concrete and aligned with the fiscal realities and budget process of the county. Any budget proposal should identify external funding streams including federal programs such as Medicaid, federal grant opportunities and state block grant dollars as the first source for funding, with any potential county dollars filling final gaps in needed funding. Routine communication with the planning team on its ongoing efforts will help county leaders stay up to speed on the latest developments. Read More
Six Questions Case Studies: Question 6: Do We Track Progress?
Once planning is completed and the prioritized strategies are being implemented, tracking progress and ongoing evaluation begins. Planning teams should monitor the completion of short-term, intermediate and long-term goals, as it may take years to demonstrate measurable reductions in jail populations and the prevalence of people with mental illnesses in jail. Showing evidence of more immediate accomplishments, such as the implementation of new procedures, policies and evidence-based practices, contributes to the momentum and commitment necessary to ensure this is a permanent initiative. Tracking data within the four key measures may also provide the justification necessary to secure continuation funding and/or additional implementation funding. Read More
Reducing Mental Illness in Rural Jails
The goal of this publication is to provide rural county leaders with ideas and strategies for addressing these challenges by providing examples of counties that have successfully done so or are making progress. There is no one strategy that will work for all counties, or all rural counties. But county leaders are encouraged to learn from each other’s experiences and adapt their peers’ policies, practices and programs to fit the needs of their county and residents. Read More
Stepping Up Four Key Measures Case Studies
The Stepping Up Four Key Measures Case Studies serve as a quick reference to the strategies highlighted in this series and share suggested sub-measures associated with each of these measures to help counties better collect and analyze their data. Read More
Calaveras County, Calif.: Connecting Justice-Involved People to Treatment and Services
In March 2016, the Calaveras County Board of Supervi­sors passed a resolution to join the national Stepping Up initiative and commit to safely reducing the number of adults with mental illnesses in the Calaveras County Jail by connecting them to community-based treatment whenever possible. In May 2018, Calav­eras County was selected for the inaugural cohort of Stepping Up Innovator Counties due to its efforts to accurately identify and collect data on individuals with mental illnesses coming into its jail. Read More
Johnson County, Kan.: Using Mental Health Screening and Assessment to Serve Individuals with the Most Needs
Through a culture of collaboration, Johnson County, Kan., has developed numerous systems and processes to help collect, share and use data on individuals who come into contact with their county’s justice and human services systems, including those with behavioral health needs. The county uses these systems and processes to inform policy and funding priorities to better identify individuals with mental health treatment needs and connect them to services. Read More
Middlesex County, Mass.: Building Regional Partnerships to Address Emerging Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Trends
Middlesex County, Mass., is a large and diverse county encompassing 54 different cities and towns of various sizes. Throughout these jurisdictions, leaders were seeing similar trends in opioid-related crimes and fatalities and increasing law enforcement contact with people with co-occurring mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office was seeing the impact on its jail population. In 2016, the county adopted a regional approach to combat these issues by establishing partnerships between the sheriff and chiefs of police from police departments within the county. As of June 2017, 21 of the 54 police departments within the county had joined the Data-Driven Justice initiative and assigned a staff person to work collaboratively to address these issues. Read More
Coconino County, Ariz.: Building a Culture of Collaboration to Inform Criminal Justice Initiatives
In 2010, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors requested a recidivism study on people being released from the county jail. This request kicked off the county’s efforts to better collect, share, analyze and use data among county stakeholders and move to a culture of collaboration between partners to generate the best outcomes for individuals involved with the criminal justice system. Read More