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Illinois Mental Health Task Force and AOIC Behavioral Health Initiative

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $550,000)

This funding will develop and expand the Illinois’ Mental Health Task Force, encourage local implementation of state and national mental health initiatives, and specifically target pretrial diversion from justice involvement through pilot sites designed to address the mental health treatment needs of justice-involved individuals, with preference for diversions that address the priority areas of  high and persistent poverty areas, women, mental health courts, validated assessment, and law enforcement interventions.

This project is a collaborative effort between the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts and the Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Mental Health. Illinois ranks near the bottom in most measures in managing mental illness and co-occurring substance use, and the criminal justice system is often the most likely path for treatment. It is anticipated this will be exacerbated by the new Criminal Justice Reform Act that eliminates cash bail and allows judges to hold defendants who may pose a danger to themselves or others. The Task Force will expand its work from its 2020 Statewide Summit and 2021Statewide Needs Assessment, and development of a framework for the Ideal Behavioral Health System in Illinois to expand community based services available to those in the criminal justice system, implement multiple strategies to address pretrial diversion to community treatment, and improve the justice and treatment outcomes for justice-involved individuals in various communities throughout the state. This effort will establish a strategic plan to help guide statewide service development and problem solving, provide five to ten local courts with the opportunity to institute evidence-based practices to address community-based treatment alternatives to justice involvement, and provide much needed cross-branch accountability and transparency in efforts to improve the justice and mental health systems in Illinois. The project will culminate in a statewide follow-up summit to share lessons learned.

Date Created: December 13, 2021