Workshop Highlights Mental Health and Substance Disorders in Jails

Scotts Bluff Star-Herald

By Scotts Bluff Star-Herald staff

Several individuals from across health care and justice agencies in the Panhandle participated in a 1.5-day workshop on Oct. 3 and 4 for the development of integrated strategies to effectively identify and respond to the needs of justice-involved adults with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. The workshop was part of the Stepping Up Initiative work that is spearheaded by Region 1 Behavioral Health Authority and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.

Sequential Intercept Mapping facilitated by Policy Research, Inc. (PRI) in Delmar, New York is a workshop designed to help communities identify existing community resources, service gaps, and opportunities for improved service coordination and communication between mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice professionals. According to Dr. Henry J. Steadman of PRI, “This workshop is a strategic planning session intended to foster systemic change and provide each participating community with the tools necessary to move forward to enhance services for adults with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders in contact with the justice system.”

Key agency administrators, staff, and consumer advocates from the mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice system in Scotts Bluff County participated in Sequential Intercept Mapping which focused strategic planning efforts on cross-systems collaboration and the reduction of system and service barriers with an integrated, local action plan.

During the workshop, participants developed a map detailing the flow of criminal justice contact from arrest to incarceration, referral and access to services, and points for diversion from the justice system across Scotts Bluff County. Strategies for systems change implemented by other U.S. communities were considered.

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