Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $186,558)
The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP), seeks to increase public safety through innovative cross-system collaboration for individuals with mental illness who come into contact with the criminal or juvenile justice systems. This program is funded through the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004 (MIOTCRA) (Public Law 108-414). The program is designed to increase public safety by facilitating collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and mental health and substance abuse treatment systems to increase access to services for offenders with mental illness. Activities under this initiative encourage early intervention for 'system-involved' individuals with mental illness; provides new and existing mental health courts with various treatment options; maximizes diversion opportunities for nonviolent offenders with mental illness and co-occurring disorders; promotes training for justice and treatment professionals on criminal justice processes and mental health and substance abuse issues; and facilitates communication, collaboration, and the delivery of support services among justice professionals, treatment and related service providers, and governmental partners.
The New York State Unified Court System and the Erie County Department of Mental Health are committed to finding cost-effective solutions to reverse the present trend of managing untreated mentally ill offenders within the criminal justice system. The purpose of the Justice Mental Health Collaboration program is to empower those persons with mental health disabilities and provide resources that will promote recovery and decrease their probability of recidivism. Erie County wishes to provide services for 500-600 high-risk, high need mentally ill individuals with criminal cases in the City of Buffalo. The majority of clients will likely be homeless with issues of alcohol and other drugs, and have a schizophrenia or bi-polar diagnosis.