Congressional Briefing: How Three Communities Are Supporting Mental Health and Decreasing Justice System Involvement Through JMHCP
Roughly two million times each year, people with serious mental illnesses are admitted to jails across the nation. About a third of these adults also have substance use issues. Once incarcerated, individuals with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and, upon release, are at a higher risk of returning to incarceration than people without these illnesses.
Recognizing this issue’s complicated and pervasive nature, Congress created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) through the Department of Justice in 2004. The goal of JMHCP was to fund states and counties taking a new approach to address mental illness through local collaborations between criminal justice and mental health systems. The program is administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which has now awarded over $160 million to jurisdictions across the country.
Since its inception, JMHCP has empowered states and counties to develop new initiatives that are successfully keeping people with mental illnesses out of the criminal justice system, reducing their time within the system, and promoting public safety.
- U.S. Representative Bobby Scott, D-VA-3: Robert C. “Bobby” Scott has represented Virginia’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. Rep. Scott sponsored the Death in Custody Reporting Act, which requires state and local law enforcement agencies to report to the U.S. Department of Justice how many individuals die annually while in custody or during an arrest. In 2010, Rep. Scott successfully led efforts in the House to pass the Fair Sentencing Act. He is the first African American elected to Congress from Virginia since Reconstruction and only the second African American elected to Congress in Virginia’s history. He is also the first American with Filipino ancestry to serve as a voting member of Congress.
- U.S. Representative Tom Emmer, R-MN-6: Tom Emmer is currently serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Emmer was elected by his Republican colleagues to join the House GOP Leadership team as the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 116th Congress and again for the 117th Congress. Currently, he sits on the House Financial Services Committee. He is also a member of the Republican Deputy Whip Team and the House Republican Steering Committee. Before coming to Congress, he served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2004 to 2008.
- Mike Brouwer, Criminal Justice Coordinator, Douglas County, Lawrence, KS: Mike Brouwer began his career working in community mental health and for the past 16 years has worked in jails providing mental health and reentry services. Currently, his work supports the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Brouwer implemented the JMHCP grant-funded Assess-Identify-Divert Program, selected by SAMHSA as a national best practice site for screening and assessment in jail, and he provides technical assistance and consulting for multiple counties in Kansas and nationally.
- Karin Sonneman, Winona County Attorney. Karin Sonneman was elected Winona County Attorney in November 2010 and reelected in 2014 and 2018. She has served on the Winona County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) since its inception in 2007 and has been the chair of the CJCC since 2015. In that role, Sonneman has led the CJCC’s efforts to establish smart-on-crime initiatives that provide prevention, early intervention, diversion, reentry, and restorative justice programs to help juveniles and adults. She is a member of the Treatment Court of Winona County (TCWC) team and was on the planning, development, and implementation team that established the TCWC in 2012.
- Kelly Royston, Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) and Rockingham Harrisonburg Joint Mental Health Collaboration Program Coordinator (RHJMHCP). Kelly Royston currently oversees all mental health programs for Rockingham County, such as CIT training, Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center, Crisis Response Team, and Handle With Care for Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Public Schools. She has been a coordinator with CIT and RHJMHCP since August of 2016, and she has worked in public safety and criminal justice for over 14 years.
- Ayesha Delany-Brumsey, Director of Behavioral Health, The CSG Justice Center (Facilitator)
Watch the conversation showcasing innovative programs supported by JMHCP and how these programs improve services to people with mental illnesses and/or substance abuse disorders.
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