Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,125,000)
Allegheny County will improve access to treatment and recovery outcomes for individuals in need of substance use disorder(SUD) supports through the planning and implementation of an Allegheny County Jail Intake Screening program through a partnership between the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ), the sole local correctional facility serving the county. In 2022, 15,695 individuals were brought to the ACJ. Of the 8,301 that went on to be fully booked into the ACJ, 82% were males and 53% were Black.
Through this project, the ACJ will employ five full time Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to complete SUD, mental health (MH), and co-occurring disorder (COD) screening, using validated tools, for all new arrests brought to the facility including collecting medical history with a focus on substance use, possible withdrawal risks, MAT needs, and other acute health needs that would require monitoring. This screening occurs at the earliest point possible after a new arrest arrives at the ACJ and will be used to connect individuals to appropriate care more quickly while incarcerated, including medication assisted treatment (MAT), and to better inform release planning and connection to community supports.
Allegheny County will develop a Project Team that will collaboratively develop the program structure and workflow and identify the evidence-informed screening tools prior to implementation. Planning will occur over the first six months, with recruitment for program staff beginning early on. The team will continue to meet throughout implementation to monitor progress and outcomes.
Anticipated outcomes of this project include: connection to services for those whose screening indicates they would benefit from SUD and/or MH supports; increased medical support for individuals experiencing substance use withdrawal; expedited connection to care, including MAT, for those who remain in custody; reduced substance-use related deaths in the jail and post-release; increased continuity of care upon release; and, reduced racial disparities. The implementation of SUD screening through this project also provides a necessary component of the ACJ’s plans to expand MAT in the jail to induction.
The baseline recidivism rates for ACJ at 12 months post-release are: re-arrest 29%; rebooking 38%; and reconviction 6%.