Stepping Up Initiative

Since May 2015, more than 425 counties have passed resolutions to join Stepping Up, a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

Recognizing the critical role local and state officials play in supporting change, the National Association of Counties (NACo), The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF) are leading this unprecedented national initiative.

NACo, the CSG Justice Center, and APAF are working with partner organizations to build on the foundation of innovative and evidence-based practices already being implemented across the country, and to bring these efforts to scale. These partners have expertise in the complex issues addressed by Stepping Up and include sheriffs, jail administrators, judges, community corrections professionals and treatment providers, consumers, advocates, behavioral health directors, and other stakeholders.

Reducing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jail: Six Questions County Leaders Need to Ask serves as a blueprint for counties to assess their existing efforts to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders in jail by considering specific questions and progress-tracking measures. 

Here are the six questions county leaders need to ask:

  1. Is your leadership committed?
  2. Do you have timely screening and assessment?
  3. Do you have baseline data?
  4. Have you conducted a comprehensive process analysis and service inventory?
  5. Have you prioritized policy, practice, and funding?
  6. Do you track progress?

More Resources

Register for Webinar: Reducing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses Booked into Jails

Register for Webinar: Reducing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses Booked into Jails

Join the Stepping Up partners for the first webinar in the four key measures series, where a national expert and representatives from Pima County, AZ, will provide an overview of each of the key measures, describe strategies for reducing the number of jail bookings for people who have mental illnesses, and outline data points to collect, analyze, and track over time.

Counties Across the Country Participate in National Stepping Up Day of Action

During this Day of Action, county officials are hosting events or participating in local activities to share with constituents the progress made in addressing the prevalence of people who have mental illnesses in jails; raise public awareness and understanding of this important issue; and emphasize their commitment to creating data-driven, systems-level changes to policy and practice to achieve Stepping Up goals.

Diversion Program Would Help Keep Mentally Ill Out of Jail

Nonviolent offenders with mental illness could be diverted away from New Jersey’s mainstream criminal justice system and into a rehabilitation program designed to provide treatment for their psychiatric disorder, under an initiative envisioned by a longtime Democratic Senator that also reflects the goals of a growing national movement.