Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $200,000)
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; provide new and existing mental health courts with various treatment options; maximize diversion opportunities for nonviolent offenders with mental illness and co-occurring disorders; promote training for justice and treatment professionals on criminal justice processes and mental health and substance abuse issues; and facilitate communication, collaboration, and the delivery of support services among justice professionals, treatment and related service providers, and governmental partners.
The purpose of this project is to expand the treatment services of the established and effective deflection/diversion program that includes a mental health court tailored to the needs of the community and offenders with mental illness. This expansion will add a full-time treatment specialist in co-occurring disorders; a full-time treatment specialist in gender-based sexual abuse/trauma screening and counseling; and a part-time family psychoeducational and advocacy services specialist. The overarching goal is to break the cycle of arrest and incarceration for people who commit crimes due to their mental illness. The Community Mental Health Task Force includes more than 80 representatives from a broad spectrum of mental health and criminal justice agencies.
Achievements to date have included common mental health protocols, models for deflection and diversion, and a model Mental Health Court with the following goals: 1) increase treatment delivered to defendants with mental illness; 2) expand options available to the judiciary; 3) reduce the number of defendants with mental illness entering and moving through the Winnebago County criminal justice system; 4) reduce recidivism of defendants with mental illness in the criminal justice system; 5) increase mental health and related support services available to defendants with mental illness in Winnebago County; and 6) reduce the length and frequency of hospitalizations for defendants with mental illness.