NACo released two case studies highlighting the important work that counties are doing to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. Looking for more county examples? Check out the Stepping Up Key Resources page for publications, tools and examples.
- Johnson County, Kan.: Johnson County’s Criminal Justice Advisory Council was established by the Board of Commissioners in 2008 as the result of an increasing jail population to study and evaluate the county’s criminal justice system and make recommendations on how to reduce these numbers and address other criminal justice priorities. In the spring of 2009, the CJAC facilitated a planning process to identify productive recommendations to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses involved in the criminal justice system. They came up with several practices and programs, including a mental health co-responder program, a crisis stabilization center and an easier way for agencies to identify people with mental illnesses across systems. Read more.
- Mecklenburg County, N.C.: In 2005, a committee was convened to look at the jail crowding problem in Mecklenburg County and create a plan for reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in their jail by creating a continuum of diversion programs and practices. This continuum includes jail diversion, mental health and drug treatment courts, staffing the public defender’s office with a clinician, crisis intervention teams (CIT), a housing program (MeckFUSE) and mobile crisis. Read more.
More case studies in this series are forthcoming. Have something you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Nastassia Walsh at 202.942.4289 to share your county’s story.
Stepping Up is a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails, and the result of a partnership between NACo, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Foundation. For more information, visit www.stepuptogether.org.