Lincoln County’s effort to reduce the number of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system has received a major boost, according to county officials.
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Among the advances, more inmates are being screened for behavioral health issues.
Judge Steve Leifman and Leon Evans will discuss cutting-edge community programs developed as part of the national “Stepping Up Initiative” at the seminar.
The final measure was the county joining the “Stepping Up” Initiative. The national initiative is designed to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails across the country, which is estimated at more than 2 million.
“If people came to the court and saw how long the mentally ill sit in jail because we can’t provide the appropriate services for them, I think they’d be shocked,” said Marin Superior Court Judge Kelly Simmons.
“The jail utilization study supported the fact that we needed other partners at the Law and Justice (Committee) table, particularly behavioral health and public health,” said Assistant Sheriff Shannon Dicus.
Northampton County Council passed a resolution Thursday that seeks to reduce the number of mentally ill people in the county prison.
DOC Medical Director Dr. Raman Singh says they are helping incarcerated inmates enroll in Medicaid so that once they are released, they can continue to receive the care they need.
An estimated 400 to 800 of the 1,000 inmates being held in a Multnomah County jail have some form of psychiatric disorder.
Mr. Trump acknowledged that “prison should not be a substitute for treatment” and said his administration would try to address this challenge. A good start would be to extend the public health system into jails and prisons, which take in the poorest and most illness-prone people in society.