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Mental Health Offender Program (MHOP)

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $750,000)

The Sulzbacher Center in Jacksonville, Florida in collaboration with The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and other community partners proposes to apply for the BJA FY 2023 Improving Adult and Youth Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Program.  

In Jacksonville Florida, The Duval County Pre-Trial Detention Facility is known as the largest inpatient mental health facility in Northeast Florida. To address this overwhelming problem, The Mental Health Offender Program (MHOP) was established to divert nonviolent misdemeanant defendants with Serious Mental Illnesses (SMI), or co-occurring SMI and substance use disorders (SUD), away from the criminal justice system into community-based treatment and recovery support services. The program was developed as a system-wide collaboration among partners that were committed to implementing mental health diversion strategies as an alternative to conventional criminal justice case processing and incarceration.

The MHOP is designed for individuals that have been determined to be the most difficult to serve and assess to be very high/high/moderate risk for re-offense. Eligibility criteria includes adults with SMI or co-occurring SMI and SUD who demonstrate high utilization of acute care and a history of multiple arrests, incarcerations, and institutionalization.

The goal of the program is to improve crisis stabilization and community reentry by implementing a best practice diversion model. This will be accomplished by ensuring that individuals are screened, assessed, and identified for program participation and clinical services during pretrial detention prior to release from jail and post-release. Evidence-based validated assessment tools will be utilized to determine criminogenic risk and needs that will inform and support transition plans for reentry to the community.

Each plan will be individualized based on the results of the screening and assessment and will support continuity of care and long-term recovery. Services may include intensive psychiatric treatment, medication, primary health care, substance use treatment, care coordination, case management, cognitive behavioral interventions, peer support, housing, access to entitlements and other ancillary services as necessary.

The project will collect, analyze, and report both quantitative and qualitative data to measure effectiveness and efficiency. It is expected that there will be 100 individuals screened annually resulting in a 30% enrollment rate (30 individuals served annually). Outcomes will demonstrate decrease in recidivism, increased stable housing, increased treatment engagement and decrease in costs to the community.

Date Created: September 13, 2023