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Douglas County, Kan.: Using Mental Health Screening and Assessment to Serve Individuals with the Most Needs
In 2015, recognizing a need to relieve jail overcrowding and identify alternatives to jail for people with mental illnesses, Douglas County, Kan., leaders sought out policy and practice changes that could be put into place that would lead to better outcomes for their residents. The County Board of Commissioners supported the development of a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to enhance collaboration among the various agencies and systems (including other municipal law enforcement agencies) needed to work on this issue. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was awarded a U.S. Department of Justice’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grant and worked with the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and the University of Kansas to develop the Assist-Identify-Divert (AID) Program. Read More
Fairfax County, Va.: The Diversion First Initiative to Reduce Incarceration of People with Mental Illnesses
Fairfax County, Va., launched its Diversion First initiative in 2015 to offer alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illnesses and/or developmental disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low-level offenses. The initiative began with an initial 40-person stakeholder group that has expanded to more than 180 members who meet quarterly as a whole and participate in various work groups on issues such as data and evaluation, communications, Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and more. Through every step of the initiative, the leadership and stakeholders’ groups communicate to the community about the work being done and the potential impact of these efforts to gain and maintain public support and trust. Read More
Johnson County, Iowa: Using Data to Tell the Story of People with Mental Illnesses in the Community and in the Jail
Johnson County, Iowa, has been working on jail diversion since 2005 and has seen dramatic reductions in its jail population due to the foundation leaders created through the Crim­inal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC) and other efforts. Johnson County’s CJCC engages county and city leadership from law enforcement, behavioral health and the courts, as well as state leadership to help drive changes. One way leaders have continued the momentum and changed the community dialogue around these issues is by using data to help tell the story of the individuals they are trying to help and the potential impact of making changes to policies and programs. Read More