National Stepping Up Summit: Recap

April 21, 2016

On April 18–19, the National Stepping Up Summit brought together teams of criminal justice and behavioral health professionals from U.S. communities of all sizes as part of an initiative to address the mental health crisis in our nation’s jails. Among the federal and elected officials in attendance were Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama; Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates; U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX); and U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA).

The first-of-its kind summit, which convened jail administrators, law enforcement officials, county elected officials, psychiatrists, and other stakeholders from 50 jurisdictions across the country, was designed to give attendees a clear understanding of what constitutes a comprehensive, system-level plan to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jail.

The 50 jurisdictions selected to attend consisted of a cross-section of urban, suburban, and rural counties representing 37 states.

At the summit, county teams took stock of work already underway in their counties and charted a path forward. To that end, they considered six questions to guide working sessions over course of the two-day event.

Stepping Up, an initiative designed to rally national, state and local leaders around the goal of reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jail, launched in May 2015 as a partnership between The Council of State Governments Justice Center, The National Association of Counties, and The American Psychiatric Association Foundation.

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