Pima County became part of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) in May 2015 when it was awarded a $150,000 planning grant to develop a strategy to reduce its jail population. With this planning grant, Pima County stakeholders identified pretrial diversion for people with behavioral health treatment needs as a key priority for reform. As a follow-up, the county applied for and was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the SJC to implement policies and practices to address this priority. Additionally, the County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to join the national Stepping Up initiative in November 2015.
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