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Project Connect

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $48,301)

The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) seeks to increase public safety through an innovative, cross-system collaborative response for individuals with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal or juvenile justice systems. This program is funded through the Public Law 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) and is authorized through Public Law 108-414 (Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, 2004). 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 will 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 non-violent 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 Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, in collaboration with the Co-Occurring Collaborative Serving Maine, will use their FY 08 Justice and Mental Health Planning grant for the development of a strategic plan called Project Connect, to enhance collaboration across the criminal justice and behavioral health systems in Cumberland County.

Project Connect will promote the screening for criminal risk and behavioral health issues, the use of natural supports, and the collaborative responses of various partners. An existing cross-disciplinary partnership among criminal justice and behavioral health personnel will guide the planning process of Project Connect. The planning partners will use a model called 'Sequential Intercept Model' as an approach to the decriminalization of people with serious mental illness. The model envisions a series of points of interception between the criminal justice and mental health systems that will prevent a person from slipping deeper into the system. The strategic plan will promote early identification through screening for mental health and substance abuse and criminogenic risk. It will expand targeted interventions for criminogenic risk and focus on developing natural supports such as mentoring and peer-to-peer programs for the mental health and co-occurring substance abuse offender population in Cumberland County.


Date Created: September 9, 2008