Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $50,000)
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.
To increase public safety and make more effective use of limited criminal justice resources, the Norfolk County Mental Health Collaboration will use these planning grant funds for a program designed to identify and provide services for mentally ill individuals as they come into contact with the criminal justice system. The goal of the Norfolk County Mental Health Collaboration is to reduce low-level offenders' further involvement with the criminal justice system, reduce criminal behavior and recidivism rates, improve the quality of life for the mentally ill offender and their families, and improve public safety. The planning phase of the program will focus on developing a jail diversion program, educating first responders to the signs of mental illness and the referral process, and exploring the various ways the mental health profession and the criminal justice system can work together on behalf of mentally ill offenders. The planning group will be headed by the Norfolk County District Attorney, and be comprised of representatives from local law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse treatment providers, the judiciary, the public defender's office, and others. The Norfolk County Mental Health Collaboration will document the progress of the planning phase of this project as a non-formal evaluation process.