Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $336,244)
The purpose of the Richland County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (RCCJCC) is to bring stakeholders engaged with mental health, criminal justice and other supporting community programs together to develop effective strategies to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with mental illness and to increase community well-being and apply statistical data to drive discussions on improvements or changes within the justice system of Richland County. The RCCJCC was implemented following an agreement between the lead partners, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office in May of 2021. The RCCJCC was developed to make sustainable, data-driven improvements to our criminal justice system related to mental illness and as a result, to improve public safety and community well-being. The funding will be utilized to hire a Program Data Coordinator and an Administrative Assistant.
The target population to be addressed by the initiative will be individuals with mental illnesses or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders who come into contact with the justice system. An estimated 450 individuals were identified by law enforcement (Richland County Sheriff’s Department) as someone struggling with a mental illness crisis during an eleven month period from January 2020 through November 2021. We anticipate at least that number will be involved in our initiative. Richland County currently has an estimated population of 418,873, making it the second most populous county in South Carolina. Richland County includes the City of Columbia (South Carolina's capital), the army post, Fort Jackson, and the University of South Carolina, along with several other universities and colleges. Fifty-nine point seven percent of the population is between the ages of 18 and 64, and 51.8% are female. Race is divided into 45.4% White, 48.7% Black/African American, and 5.3% identify as Hispanic or Latino. Persons in poverty are 16.2% of the population. Richland County's crime statistics are the highest in the state. According 2020 statistics obtained from the SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division), South Carolina’s violent crime rate increased 5.4% from 2019 to 2020. Richland County has the highest number of violent crimes in the state at 2,623. In 2020 there were 1,490 drug law violations, and there are currently over 2,882 drug-related cases pending on the General Sessions Court dockets in Richland County. We are requesting $334,844.00 in federal funding. This is our first request for this funding. We have not received a JMHCP grant previously.