“Housing and support services cost less than we are spending now on police, courts, jails and hospitals to manage homelessness,” Step Up Executive Director Tod Lipka said.
Mental Health Media Clips
This workshop is part of a national push to reduce the number of people in jail with mental illness through the Stepping Up Initiative. Tulsa joined this initiative in 2015.
“Alamance County is one of the best in the state of North Carolina,” said Art Springer, president of the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “There are a lot of services available, but people don’t know how to access the system.”
“It’s money well spent,” said Commissioner Paul W. Conklin. Something like 60 percent of prisoners in Pennsylvania have mental issues, he said, and around two-thirds of released inmates return to jails.
Having lived in Columbus for the last two-and-a-half years, Kerman said she’s seen the ways Franklin County has embraced criminal-justice reform.
Some of the methods Rowley said she intended to highlight are crisis intervention training for law enforcement, which helps officers learn best practices and strategies when responding to a situation involving someone who has a mental illness.
The initiative uses state money to increase the Sheriff’s Department budget by $1.15 million to pay for nine full-time positions. It’s based on the Stepping Up Initiative, a program developed by the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation.
Programming for Reentry, Support and Stability, or PROGRESS, will address the mental health of sentenced offenders in an alternative custody setting.
The task force will consist of key community leaders with the goal of creating conditions that allow for optimal success for those living with mental illness who are, or are at risk, of being involved in the criminal justice system.
South Dakota courts routinely jail mentally ill defendants for six months or more without trial because of a backlog of court-ordered mental health exams. The problem is aggravated by a cap on the number of evaluations the state’s mental health hospital is willing to perform.