With more people with mental illnesses in jails than ever before—the majority of whom are not a public safety risk—county leaders across the country have united around a central realization: Jails can no longer be used as de facto psychiatric facilities.
To address this growing concern, in May 2015, The Council of State Governments Justice Center, the National Association of Counties, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation launched Stepping Up, an initiative designed to rally leaders around the goal of reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jail. At the local level, Stepping Up works with county elected officials to establish firm commitments, develop plans consistent with best practices, and galvanize local action. To date, more than 250 counties have passed resolutions to commit to advancing the goals of Stepping Up.
In order to ensure that the initiative’s momentum translates into real impact, teams of policymakers and stakeholders from 50 counties across the country—both urban and rural—are gathering next week for a national, first-of-its-kind summit designed to help them review and refine Stepping Up plans according to six key criteria. The criteria are detailed in the slideshow below.
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In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center is seeking applicants to join the nationwide Criminal Justice-Mental Health Learning Sites Program, which will highlight effective approaches from crisis response through courts, jails, probation, and community-based programs.Read More
With unanimous consent, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act of 2022 yesterday, officially approving the legislation sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Tom Emmer (R-MN). The bill will expand and improve upon the success of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) to give the country’s criminal justice and mental health systems the tools they need to serve some of their most vulnerable individuals. It will also provide the resources to help communities divert people from the criminal justice system when appropriate.Read More
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Community leaders around the country have heralded the arrival of 988—the 3-digit code for people to reach the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline—as an essential new resource to shift people in crisis toward appropriate care.Read More