The Lafayette Parish Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee has received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The funds will be distributed over three years. The money will go toward implementing pre-arrest diversion strategies designed to increase mental health services and reduce the incarceration of people with mental illness.
The first priority of the project is to implement non-clinical case management that connects people with mental health or substance abuse needs with community support before they end up in jail.
To this end, the grant continues established partnerships among the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, Lafayette Police Department, Acadiana Area Human Services District, Beacon Community Connections Inc. and 232-HELP.
The second priority is to design and implement mechanisms for secure information sharing among law enforcement, housing services, health care services and more so that the right information is available in a crisis and for decisions on treatment.
“The No. 1 goal is public safety. During a mental health crisis, law enforcement and other first responders can de-escalate the situation more effectively and safely if pertinent information about the individual is available,” said Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber.
The Informatics Research Institute at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will provide technical assistance for this part of the project.