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County ‘Stepping Up’ to Help the Mentally Ill

On Monday, Cleveland County became one of a handful of Oklahoma counties to pass a Stepping Up resolution to commit to reducing the number of people with mental illness in jail. According to the Stepping Up website, Cleveland County may be only the third in the state to adopt this resolution, with the other two being Grant and Tulsa counties.

Stepping Up Initiative Kicks off in Champaign County

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton is the project director for the Ohio Stepping Up initiative. Instead of addressing mental illness in jails on a county-by-county basis, Stratton said, Ohio is tackling the problem on a statewide basis. Including Champaign County, there are currently 45 counties in Ohio participating in the initiative.

Louisiana Corrections Building on Successful Efforts to Reduce Recidivism Rate of Former Inmates

From 2004 to 2014, the rate in Louisiana of people who returned to prison within three years of their release decreased by 12 percent, according to a national justice organization’s November report on prisoners affected by Second Chance Act programs. The report shows that almost 39 of every 100 such former inmates in Louisiana returned to prison within a three year window in 2004, but in 2014, 34 per 100 did.

St. Paul Police Expanding New Mental Health Unit

Like law enforcement agencies everywhere, the St. Paul Police Department gets a lot of calls for mental health crises, which take a lot of officers’ time and cost a lot of money. So far this year, Ramsey County dispatchers have handled almost 6,000 calls involving mental health. That’s about 2 percent of incoming 911 calls.

How the Stepping Up Initiative Is Combatting the Mental Healthcare Crisis in Jails

Since joining Stepping Up, both Douglas and Champaign counties in Kansas have implemented mental health screenings in jail to get beyond guesswork and make more informed decisions about the strategies needed to have a measurable impact on the number of people with mental illnesses in their jails. Both counties were also named Stepping Up Innovator Counties for their recent efforts to accurately identify people with serious mental illnesses and collect related data.

Jailing People with Mental Illness Is a National Problem. The Solutions Are Local.

Throughout the country, in places as diverse as Tucson, Miami, and Milwaukee, people are finding ways to get those with diseases such as schizophrenia, PTSD, and bipolar disorder the help they need rather than locking them up. Common among all approaches is a willingness to address the problem across systems—from the courtroom to the jail to treatment and housing.

Out of Prison, but Struggling for Health Care

“People that are healthy are more likely to be able to find work,” said Tom Betti, press secretary for the Ohio Department of Medicaid. “In the long run that saves taxpayer dollars. They are healthier, employed and not reincarcerated.”

Colorado Task Force Rolls out Plan to Improve Juvenile Justice System

Summit County already has strong juvenile diversion programs in place. About 90 percent of eligible youth are sent through the programs after risk assessments which include severity of their crime, whether it was their first offense and other risk factors, such as if they’re still in school or not.

11 States Report Reduction in Three-Year Recidivism Rates

States are showing a reduction in their three-year, return-to-prison rates, according to new data revealed by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center. “Reducing Recidivism: States Deliver Results,” an ongoing series by the CSG Justice Center, tracked data from 11 state corrections agencies to reveal significant multi-year declines in reincarceration rates since their peak years of recidivism.

North Dakota May Hold Key to Wyoming’s Prison Woes

Wyoming and North Dakota do not share a border but do share some definitive traits — wide open spaces, a largely rural population, energy booms and busts and staunch Republican control of state government.

Task Force Identifies Juvenile Justice Policies That Advance Colorado’s Effort to Enhance Public Safety and Improve Youth Outcomes

“Putting children in confinement should be a last resort, not a first option,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “These policy recommendations are data-driven, practical proposals that will improve our state’s juvenile justice system. I commend the task force and urge lawmakers to consider these measures in the next legislative session.”