Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $549,703)
The Judicial Diversion and Intervention for Mental Health project (JDIMH) will minimize justice involvement for defendants, probationers, and offenders with MI/CMISA through increased access to appropriate behavioral health treatment and community-based, non-clinical case management. The JDIMH will identify justice-involved individuals with severe MI/CMISA, conduct risk-need assessments, connect them to behavioral health treatment and social services and supports. Measurable outcomes are to increase access to behavioral health and social services, decrease the number of technical violations, decrease the number of re-arrests and re-incarcerations, and decrease the number of court appearances. The geographic area for the project is the 15th Judicial District of Louisiana which includes Acadia Parish, Lafayette Parish, and Vermilion Parish. The target population for the JDIMH project is individuals with severe MI/CMISA who are either pre-sentenced offenders, probationers, or incarcerated pre-trial detainees. The JDIMH program proposes to enroll 600 project participants during the implementation period. There are approximately 366,000 residents in this district, with 4% of them estimated to have a severe mental illness (N=14,640). In 2019, 9,286 criminal charges were filed in the 15th JDC. Research estimates that 11-16% of defendants have a severe mental illness. That would mean up to 1,485 charges had a severe mental illness component. Over 15,000 individuals were booked into jail within the district in 2019, with approximately 6,600 a history of mental illnesses (44%). There is a significant need for policies, processes, and strategies to divert individuals with MI/CMISA to behavioral health and community services and supports and away from the justice system.
JDIMH project will be led by the 15th Judicial District Court of Louisiana in collaboration with Acadiana Area Human Services District, and Beacon Community Connections. Key beneficiaries are the justice-involved individuals with severe MI/CMISA, the criminal justice system and the communities and citizens within the 15th Judicial District of Louisiana. This project will promote effective strategies for identification and treatment of female offenders with MI and CMISA; propose interventions that have been shown by empirical evidence to reduce recidivism; and use a validated assessment tool to identify and prioritize individuals with moderate to high need of recidivism.