In 2015, Pacific County received a Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) planning grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to create a data-driven plan to address the number of people with mental illnesses coming into its jail. Shortly after, the county board of commissioners passed a resolution to join the national Stepping Up initiative. The county convened a core team for planning and executing the county’s identified priorities, including the jail administrator, a JMHCP coordinator, a jail liaison, the therapeutic courts coordinator and the public health director. Following its planning grant, the county received additional JMHCP funding, as well as state funding, to implement the plan. In May 2018, Pacific County was selected for the inaugural cohort of Stepping Up Innovator Counties due to its efforts to accurately identify and collect data on individuals with mental illnesses coming into its jail.
In collaboration with the Stepping Up initiative, the Data-Driven Justice initiative and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) convened a Best Practices Implementation Academy to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses and Substance Use Disorders in Jails (BPIA) in April 2018 in Alexandria, Va. SAMHSA contracted with Policy Research Associates (PRA), which operates SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, to facilitate the BPIA. This case study is part of a series highlighting the six counties that constituted the “Best Practices” teams representing the Data-Driven Justice initiative and the Stepping Up initiative at the BPIA.Standard