As nearly 11 million people are admitted to county and other local jails every year, counties are uniquely positioned to lead efforts to advance safety and justice through reducing the misuse and overuse of jails. This issue brief is one of five from NACo addressing key areas of local criminal justice systems that most affect counties and offering strategies counties can employ to address these issues, make their justice systems work more effectively and efficiently, and ultimately lead to safer and healthier communities. 

County Roles and Opportunities in Reducing Mental Illness in Jails outlines some of the challenges counties face when trying to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses entering jails and highlights key strategies that communities have used to address this issue, such as strong leadership and collaboration, efficient use of resources and effective data collection and sharing.


This issue brief was developed with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, which seeks to reduce overincarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.