New Resource for Counties Seeking to Advance Racial Equity
Counties have increasingly prioritized addressing and eliminating inequities in the criminal justice and behavioral health systems in recent years. But these pervasive inequities can be complex to understand and overwhelming to counties that are just starting to confront them.
The risk of confinement is particularly high for individuals with serious mental illnesses (SMI) who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Members of this population are also less likely than their White counterparts with SMI to have access to and engage in behavioral health and social services in the community upon release from jail.
Applying the Stepping Up Framework to Advance Racial Equity is a new brief that offers a roadmap for addressing these longstanding challenges. The Stepping Up partners have seen from experience that counties implementing the Stepping Up framework are well positioned to work toward racial equity in their local criminal justice and behavioral health systems. Following the six questions blueprint of the Stepping Up initiative, this brief guides Stepping Up counties in applying the tools they already have in place to build policies, programs, and practices that mitigate disparities in the justice and behavioral health systems.
This brief marks a new chapter for the Stepping Up initiative, which has been working to reduce the overincarceration of people with serious mental illnesses since 2015. Moving forward, the Stepping Up initiative will fundamentally incorporate the lens of racial equity into its resources and guidance. Upcoming opportunities for counties to learn more will include webinars, a Community of Practice, the release of a refreshed six questions framework, and peer learning as best practices are identified.
Led by the CSG Justice Center Justice Center, the National Associations of Counties, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, Stepping Up has the participation of over 560 counties that are committed to reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. Learn more about Stepping Up.
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