Stepping Up Resources

Stepping Up Initiative Reduces the Number of People With Mental Illness in Jail

Risë Haneberg, deputy division director for county initiatives for the CSG Justice Center, explains that since its inception, the Stepping Up initiative has gotten nearly 500 counties in 43 states to “focus on early forms of diversion” to keep mentally ill people from getting trapped in the penal system.

Stepping Up Initiative Celebrates 500 Counties Milestone

Stepping Up Initiative Celebrates 500 Counties Milestone

“Stepping Up was born out of conversations with community leaders, law enforcement officials, and behavioral health specialists, who told us that the number of people with mental illnesses coming into their jails was a top challenge for them,” said Megan Quattlebaum, director of the CSG Justice Center.

Sheriff Backs “Stepping Up” Program

Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart said he is entirely behind the Chambers County Commission’s efforts to treat mental health needs inside the county jail.

In Focus: Conducting a Comprehensive Process Analysis

In Focus: Conducting a Comprehensive Process Analysis

This brief from the Stepping Up partners presents counties with steps for examining how people who have serious mental illnesses move through a county’s criminal justice and behavioral health systems, it is one of a series of companion products designed to provide counties with further guidance on how to apply the Stepping Up framework “Reducing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jail: Six Questions County Leaders Need to Ask.”

Pitt County Jail Aims to Reduce Recidivism and Substance Use Relapse

The Pitt County department has a jail “navigator” who helps place people into safe housing and reconnect them to benefits upon their release. The sheriff’s office is also preparing to launch a new treatment program for drug users housed in the jail.

Miami County Is ‘Stepping Up’

The Miami County Jail kicked off their involvement in the Stepping Up Initiative—a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails—on June 19, joining over 45 other Ohio counties.

Q&A: A Look at the Issue of Mentally Ill Inmates in Jails

About 4 to 5% of Americans are seriously mentally ill, compared with as many as 18% of those in jails, according to Risë Haneberg, who leads the Stepping Up initiative on behalf of The Council of State Governments Justice Center.

Supervisors Show Support for Mental Health Initiative

The Washington County Board of Supervisors showed its support of the Stepping Up Initiative, which is aimed at reducing the number of people who have mental illnesses in county jails. The board approved a resolution during its meeting.

The Strategy Lab

The Strategy Lab

The Strategy Lab is a new interactive tool that features over a hundred examples from jurisdictions across the country of people working to reduce the number of people with serious mental illnesses in their jails.

Mental Health in the Justice System

A large number of people in the jail system struggle with mental health, Potter County commissioner Paul Heimel said. Some addicts or those with mental illnesses have received help, but once they become confined they don’t continue to get the help they need.

County Commits to Reducing Mental Illness in Jail

The resolution commits the county, led by the County Administrative Office, Sheriff’s Office, and the Probation and Health Departments, to a “call to action” that includes “sharing lessons” learned from other counties in the state and nationally.

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.

For the Mentally Troubled, a Pennsylvania Jail Offers ‘High-Visibility’ Cells

Ashley Adams, the nursing director for Pennsylvania’s Butler County jail, hopes that ultimately people with serious mental health problems have some place other to go other than jails, noting that she is part of a countywide committee involved in “Stepping Up,” a national organization devoted to reducing the number of mentally ill people being put in jail.

Lafayette Parish Receives $750,000 Mental Health Grant

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.

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.

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.

Stepping Up Unites Law Enforcement, Mental Health Staff

One goal for the coming year is to get housing involved in the Stepping Up initiative, said Melissa Klass, Assertive Community Treatment team leader for Berryhill Center mental health clinic in Webster County, Iowa. “I think stable housing is a big concern in this community,” Klass said. “More and more people are living in unsafe conditions.”

Burlington Police Work to Serve the Mentally Ill

At least 20 percent of the department completed the more intensive Crisis Intervention Training, a 40-hour curriculum designed by local agencies to train a team of specialized officers to respond to calls that involve individuals with mental health disorders such as depression and intellectual disability.

New Criminal Justice Reforms Are Rerouting People Who Don’t Belong in the System

State and local policymakers are turning their attention from the back end of the criminal justice system—who goes to prison and for how long—to the front end. They are focusing on helping people avoid involvement in the system altogether, rerouting those who get caught up in it but don’t belong, and helping those already involved from getting in even deeper.

Mental Health Experts Consider More Psychiatric Beds

Commander Kevin Huddle, the Sheriff’s Office point person for Stepping Up, closed the meeting with this statistic: In 1960, when the United States population was 150 million, there were 600,000 mental-health beds; today, he said, the population is 330 million, and there are 60,000 beds.

Pa. Launches Center to Help Counties Reduce Prison Population with Mental Illness

The center is a step toward solving a problem that has long plagued the criminal justice system, said John Wetzel, secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections. “The notion that we’re delivering behavioral health services and mental health services in the criminal justice system more than any other system is a national embarrassment,” he said.

Workshop Highlights Mental Health and Substance Disorders in Jails

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.

Butler County Honoring Those Who Help Mentally Ill, Addicts

Rhonda Benson, executive director of the Butler County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said each honoree epitomizes the purpose of the Stepping Up Initiative, which is to provide services and help for the mentally ill rather than having them repeatedly jailed.

‘Stepping Up’ for Recovery

Miami County is already trying to do a lot of things recommended by the Stepping Up program, pointing to the partnership between the Sheriff’s Office, the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services, and the Miami County Recovery Council.

Potter Co. Commissioners Talk Criminal Justice Reform

The Potter County Criminal Justice Advisory Board has developed a DUI Treatment Court, Drug Treatment Court and a pilot Pre-Trial Diversion Program to help people stay out of jail by offering substance addiction treatment and related services.

In Focus: Implementing Mental Health Screening and Assessment

In Focus: Implementing Mental Health Screening and Assessment

This brief is designed to help counties identify the number of people booked into jails who have serious mental illnesses (SMI) and to better connect these individuals to treatment. Determining the number of people who have SMI in jails allows counties to develop or refine strategic plans that will have the greatest impact on addressing this population’s needs.

Stepping Up Initiative Connects Inmates with Mental Health Services

Cabarrus County Stepping Up coordinator Tasha McLean, who is employed by Daymark Recovery Services and contracted through the county, works directly with inmates as a connector to treatment if needed. When people are arrested and taken into custody, detention officers perform medical screenings, which she reviews. Certain questions are designed to determine if an individual has a mental health or substance abuse issue.

Stepping Up County Self-Assessment

Stepping Up County Self-Assessment

The Stepping Up County Self-Assessment is designed to assist counties interested in evaluating the status of their current efforts to reduce the prevalence of people who have mental illnesses in jails.

Morgan Joins National Mental Health Program

Bill Giguere, development director with the Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama, told commissioners that the Stepping Up Initiative would allow the center to hire a case manager to coordinate between the Morgan County Jail, Decatur Morgan Hospital, and other county hospitals to help identify and communicate about those who have a mental illness.

Watch: Stepping Up–Collecting Data to Drive Change

Watch: Stepping Up–Collecting Data to Drive Change

Stepping Up recently premiered an animated video describing how counties can collect accurate, accessible data on the number of people entering their jails who have mental illnesses, a critical first step for making measurable reductions to the prevalence of mental illness in jails.

Opinion: ‘Stepping Up’ for Pacific County

One of the first grants that our Stepping Up team secured financed an intake survey that identifies people for whom jail time is not the best solution. Once an individual is identified with a mental health or other problem, one of our county’s network of service providers can be brought in to help.

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.

How Detention Center Is Working to Treat, Not Just Confine, the Mentally Ill

The jail houses 4,498 total inmates. Last year, it conducted more than 11,000 mental health assessments, providing almost 40,000 mental health visits and drafting 5,042 discharge plans. With about 70 percent of its population spending eight days or less behind bars, finding those services can be a challenge.

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.

Dunn County Wants to Stay Smart on Criminal Justice

The Menomonie Police Department and Dunn County Sheriff’s Office have committed to training their officers to complete a course on crisis intervention, said Kristin Korpela Dunn County Department of Human Services director. In February, the county received an $80,000 grant to be used for community reentry. The grant is meant to improve support for people exiting the jail by offering resources for stable housing and employment.

Stepping Up Initiative Expands Push for Counties to Collect Data on Number of People in Jails Who Have Mental Illnesses

Stepping Up Initiative Expands Push for Counties to Collect Data on Number of People in Jails Who Have Mental Illnesses

The Stepping Up initiative recently launched a national effort to help counties collect accurate, accessible data on the number of people entering their jails who have mental illnesses. As part of the effort, seven rural and urban “Innovator Counties” have been selected as models for their expertise in accurately identifying these individuals and consistently collecting data on them.

Dauphin County, Pennsylvania: A County Justice and Mental Health Systems Improvement Project

Dauphin County, Pennsylvania: A County Justice and Mental Health Systems Improvement Project

Based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis, and with the guidance of members of the county’s Criminal Justice Advisory Board and other senior county and state leaders, five key findings were identified that prompted the development of a set of strategic policy recommendations to improve outcomes for people in Dauphin County’s criminal justice system who have SMI. This report includes the key findings and policy recommendations.

Editorial: Jailed Mentally Ill Need Proper Approach to Break Their Cycle

The Lycoming and Clinton Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Department has two mental health professionals who provide mental health first aid training to community members as well as a type of suicide prevention training called QPR, or Question Persuade Refer.

Stepping up Initiative Seeks to Keep Mentally Ill out of Jail

Since 2013, Lorain County, Ohio has sponsored nearly 80 officers in Trauma Informed Policing. Over the course of the last 14 years, more than 200 first responders spanning 15 police departments have also received the 40-hour crisis intervention training.

Commissioners Opt in on ‘Stepping Up’ Initiative

The county’s criminal justice system, mental health services and other organizations have collaborated to initiate programs to help stem this issue already, such as with crisis intervention training.

Incarceration and Mental Illness

Aided by a national initiative aimed at reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jails, the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board and local providers have partnered to provide additional services to inmates with mental illnesses.

Jails: Inadvertent Health Care Providers

Jails: Inadvertent Health Care Providers

This report from The Pew Charitable Trusts explores how jails administer their health care programs and whether these programs further county public health and safety goals.

Douglas County, Oregon, Commissioners Sign ‘Stepping Up’ Resolution

In Douglas County, the goals under “Stepping Up” include: tracking how many people with mental illness are passing through the Douglas County jail; implementing mental health screening and assessments; expanding Crisis Intervention Training for law enforcement officers and others; assisting with efforts to open a crisis respite center for those experiencing a mental health crisis; and improving mental health services and communication between the criminal justice system, mental health providers and the community.

Editorial: Stepping Up’s Aim to Cut Inmate Population Has Merit

In a presentation last week to the Marion County Commission, Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson pointed out that people with mental illness often end up being incarcerated because many states, including Missouri, have closed mental health facilities for budgetary reasons.

Marion County, Missouri Officials Explore Merits of ‘Stepping Up’ Program

The program, dubbed “Stepping Up,” is already being used in three Missouri counties–Boone, Pettis and Audrain. Marion County officials are trying to decide if they should give it a try. “It really sounds like a great thing,” said Marion County Assessor Mark Novak, who invited two representatives from Pettis and Boone counties to Marion County to discuss the program.

Codington County (SD) Takes Steps to Limit Prison Time for Children, Mentally Ill

The commissioners’ agreement to adopt a charter for the Behavioral Health and Justice Working Group (BHJWG) received a 5-0 vote. Commissioner Lee Gabel, who has been a leader in both the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and BHJWG, explained the latter as a follow-up to the 2015 Stepping Up resolution that deals with the same issue.

400th County Joins Stepping Up

400th County Joins Stepping Up

In a little more than two years, more than 400 counties—representing 43 states and 40 percent of the U.S. population—have joined Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails.

San Luis Obispo County Details Efforts to Address Mental Illness

Sheriff Ian Parkinson addressed the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, presenting them with a detailed list of recommendations developed by two ad-hoc committees created as part of the county’s participation in the Stepping Up Initiative.

Opinion: Let’s Make 2018 the Year to Step up for Persons with Disabilities

As presiding judge of Broward’s Misdemeanor Mental Health Court, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, I strongly urge all interested local public officials and community behavioral health professionals, mental health consumers, family members and disability rights advocates to coalesce around the goals of the Stepping Up Initiative.

Mental Health: How Alabama Is Responding

“I’d like to see Alabama as a ‘Stepping Up’ state,” Lynn Beshear, Alabama’s mental health commissioner, said. “I’ve been in touch with Ohio on how they did that.” Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services director Tracy Plouck serves on the board of directors for the Council of State Governments Justice Center, and was an early champion of the nationwide initiative.

Yadkin County, NC Commissioners Learn at National Convention

“You just get to have that kind of chit chat really and to learn and to make friends with people from other states, and that’s when the real learning begins because you start talking about what are your problems and how are you solving them,” said Yadkin County Commissioner Kevin Austin.

Cops and the Mentally Ill: Finding a New Approach

“There has been a greater appreciation for the need for officers to be well versed in how to deal with people in crisis,” said Frank Straub, Director of Strategic Studies for the Police Foundation.

Path to New Jail Procedures Continues

The County Board of Supervisors all motioned to direct staff to research leads on private companies that could provide medical services to inmates, as well as ways to continue improvements within the county’s psychiatric facilities and behavioral health.

Lots of Help for Mentally Ill, If They Can Find It

“Alamance County is one of the best in the state of North Carolina,” said Art Springer, president of the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “There are a lot of services available, but people don’t know how to access the system.”

County “Steps Up” to Address Mental Health

“It’s money well spent,” said Commissioner Paul W. Conklin. Something like 60 percent of prisoners in Pennsylvania have mental issues, he said, and around two-thirds of released inmates return to jails.