Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,200,000)
Tulsa County Anti-Recidivism Misdemeanor Diversion (TURN) Program
COSSAP – FY 2021 Competitive Grant Announcement – CFDA# 16.838
Submitted by: District Court 14 – Tulsa County, Oklahoma
Proposed Initiative: In order to reduce the high overdose level in Tulsa County, which is twice the average for the state of Oklahoma, the Tulsa County District Court seeks funding to launch the Tulsa County Anti-Recidivism Misdemeanor Diversion (TURN) Program. The TURN Program will be a primary alternative-to-incarceration for individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs), mental illnesses (MIs), and co-occurring SUDs/MIs. A six-month process centered on relationship building and stabilization, the TURN Program requires that participants engage with service and treatment providers in exchange for dismissed charges, no court fines or fees, and fewer court dates, among other benefits. The TURN Program is modelled on similar, successful diversion programs in Colorado and a Special Services docket at the Tulsa municipal courthouse. By prioritizing stabilization and long-term social success, the TURN Program will improve outcomes for justice-involved individuals with SUDs/MIs whose current primary source of treatment is the Tulsa County Jail.
Target Population: Misdemeanants within the Tulsa County District Court who have a substance use disorder and/or mental illness; up to 86% (6,700+) of yearly misdemeanor referrals to the Tulsa County District Attorney may be eligible for diversion
Goal: The TURN Program aims to reduce Tulsa County’s high overdose rate by reducing contact for individuals with SUDs/MIs with the justice system through diversion into treatment programs and connection to services, thereby breaking the cycle of recidivism that increases their risk of overdose.
Turn the pilot misdemeanor diversion project into a full-scale, high-capacity alternative-to-incarceration
Develop efficient and effective methods of identifying and diverting individuals into treatment and securing necessary social services to enable a long-term reduction in recidivism and overdose rates
Program Measurements and Performance Targets: 1) Divert 1,000 misdemeanor cases out of the criminal justice system; 2) Track to 6-month completion 800 alternative sentence recommendation outcomes and engagement with services
Plan of Action/Activity: Fund three new court positions (a case manager, a prosecutor, and a public defender) and ancillary staff to scale up the pilot TURN Program in order to meet demand and accept as many eligible candidates for diversion as possible. Make the TURN Program the primary legal pathway for misdemeanants with SUDs/MIs in Tulsa County.