Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $150,000)
The New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) is partnering with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (RUBHC) to develop and enhance training given to staff members who are charged with protecting the public. Specifically, the NJDOC Office of Training seeks to improve positive outcomes in the routine interactions officers have with our disabled inmate population. Inmates with disabilities includes those diagnosed with behavioral health conditions (mental illness, developmental/intellectual disability, and/or substance use disorders). The Department understands that many inmates with disabilities face unique challenges requiring additional support and resources; therefore, training for staff members must be adequate and appropriate to meet the needs of this population. The proposal for grant funding will utilize the “Crisis Response and Intervention Training” (CRIT) model and advance the promotion of civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) to enhance officer crisis response to including, but not limited to, Major depressive disorder, Bipolar disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Schizophrenia, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Intellectual Disability, Traumatic Brain Injury, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Psychoactive Substance Use disorders, and Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders in a correctional setting. The target population includes up to eleven hundred NJDOC officers and correctional behavioral health staff who regularly interact with the disabled inmate population throughout the NJDOC community. Educating officers in evidence-based practices that minimize use-of-force probabilities, increase the use of de-escalation techniques, and recognize behavioral health distress in individuals under our care will boost morale and enhance officer, staff, and inmate mental and physical health. We propose the use of a train-the-trainer model for sustainability which will include up to six (6) live 40-hour trainings using the CRIT model per year, supplemented by a user-friendly training resource database, and up to 120 hours of training consultation. The proposal will also require a systematic review of data collected from the institutions to track the efficacy and effectiveness of the training. NJDOC supports training for staff members that builds trust with the community and aids in meeting the mission of the department to protect the public by operating safe, secure and humane correctional facilities. The requested award amount is $150,000 to support this initiative. The proposed subcontractor for this project is the ARC of New Jersey Criminal Justice Advocacy Program in North Brunswick, NJ. NJDOC has previously received the following of BJA law enforcement grants: FY19 BWCPIP, 2019-BC-BX-0034; FY19 PREA, 2019-RP-BX-0002.