Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $550,000)
The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA), in partnership with the City of Richmond Department of Justice Services (DJS) is requesting funding from DOJ to enhance the current Circuit Court Behavioral Health Docket (CCBHD).
The target population for the CCBHD is adults with non-violent offenses and mental health disorders with possible co-occurring substance use disorder. The proposed number of individuals to be served is 30. The geographic catchment area is Richmond, Virginia, a city of 229,233, 48.7% of whom are African-American, 48.5% White, 3% Asian, 4.1% multiracial, and 7.1% Hispanic. While the last several years have seen economic improvement in the Richmond area, as well as the state of Virginia, Richmond is still hit harder by poverty than the rest of the state. About 21% of Richmond City residents are below the federal poverty level, twice Virginia’s rate of 10%.
The city has been affected, like many other areas, by mental illness and the opioid epidemic. Current estimates for rates of adults with any mental illness reporting unmet needs in Virginia is 28%, compared with 25% nationally. In 2020 Richmond had more than double the rate of drug overdose deaths (46.5/100,00) than the state (20.4/100,000). Richmond’s Black community, particularly Black males, has experienced the highest rates of overdose deaths (118/100,000) compared with other subpopulations.
Through the CCBHD, all potential defendants receive a clinical and criminogenic risk assessment with recommendations to the judiciary based on level of risk, diagnosis and treatment history. Once accepted, the defendant meets with a clinician and probation officer to develop an individualized behavioral health treatment plan geared toward milestone completion rather than an imposed sentence/length of time. Frequent judicial monitoring, compliance supervision, and behavioral health services combined with treatment and behavioral accountability, encourage participants to take control of their recovery. Incentives will be provided that recognize positive behaviors and sanctions that hold participants accountable. As a result, the CCBHD will make significant progress in providing better treatment for persons with mental illness; reducing the recidivism rate; and educating the community about mental health issues.
This project will address priority areas by addressing inequities and barriers to equal opportunity, promoting effective strategies to expand the use of mental health courts, using interventions that have been shown to reduce recidivism and using a criminogenic risk assessment. The amount of federal funding requested is $550,000 over three years. RBHA is a recipient of JMHCP grant funds (2019-MO-BX-0014).