Pennsylvania Launches First-in-Nation Stepping Up Technical Assistance Center Focused on Helping Counties Reduce Number of People in Jail with Mental Illnesses

By CSG Justice Center Staff

Photo of PA Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel speakingSecretaries of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, Department of Corrections, and others launched a first-of-its-kind resource center on Oct. 15 in Philadelphia focused on helping counties reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jail through research-driven approaches.

The Stepping Up Technical Assistance Center, established by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and administered by the CSG Justice Center, will use in-person and distance-based trainings to improve county jail officials’ ability to identify mental illnesses among those admitted to their jails, as well as strengthen their data collection and establish a baseline of performance measures to track their progress toward getting people the treatment they need.

“This problem has been decades in the making, but it’s also solvable if we take a systems-wide approach,” said John Wetzel (pictured above), secretary of the state’s Department of Corrections. “In order to get there, we need to understand approaches that work, create a roadmap for success, and track our progress. Achieving those goals is exactly what the Stepping Up Technical Assistance Center is designed to support, and I’m proud that Pennsylvania is the first to launch something like this.”

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