Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $563,000)
The Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) is the chief law enforcement agency in Broward County. BSO serves our community with law enforcement, detention, and fire rescue services to the Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood Airport, the Broward County Courthouse, Port Everglades, unincorporated areas of Broward County, and 13 local municipalities via contracted provisions. It is the one of the largest fully accredited sheriff’s office in the nation and its Department of Detention (DOD) operates the 13th largest jail system in the United States. Annually, approximately 41,982 inmates crossing every ethnic, religious, age, and socioeconomic group are booked into BSO’s jails for crimes ranging from civil infractions to capital crimes. BSO operates four facilities with an average daily population system-wide of 3500.
BSO’s Department of Community Programs (DOCP) is responsible for a variety of in-custody and community-based offender programs. The Department's mission is to reduce crime and create safer communities through alternatives to incarceration that provide a comprehensive continuum of custodial and community-based programs, treatment and active supervision. The Department is divided into six Divisions: In-Custody Behavioral Services, Drug Court Treatment, Pretrial Services, County Probation, Day Reporting and Reentry and the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC). The Department oversees an active caseload of approximately 12,000 offenders each day. Our focus in applying for JAG funding is to enhance our Pre-Trial Division in its efforts to divert criminal defendants from pretrial incarceration. It provides complete, accurate and non-adversarial information to the judges of the 17th Judicial Circuit to improve the release/detention decision process in compliance with Florida Statutes and the Rules of Criminal Procedures.
Our Mental Health Diversion Project program will increase supervision of pretrial defendants in the community in partnership with law enforcement and outside agencies, ensuring that mandated conditions and court ordered special requirements are satisfied.
We are aware that 43% of individual’s officers bring to jail in Broward County are for criminal behavior ranging from nuisance and quality-of-life levels to more serious offenses that sometimes endanger themselves or other citizens. Many in the percentage have mental health challenges that is highly unlikely were addressed prior to arrest. JAG funding will allow our Pretrial Division to hire two Community Specialist Supervisors and three Community Supervision Specialists who will be instrumental in diverting mentally challenged individuals from incarceration and assist in linkages to community providers. Community Supervision Specialists and Supervisors will work closely with a myriad of community collaborators to ensure successfully project implementation.