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Durham Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $200,000)

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 County of Durham will use its Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program funds to expand its current efforts to implement a Mental Health Jail Diversion Team (MHJDT). The team will work with individuals with mental illness who are also involved in the criminal justice system. The MHJDT intends to divert as many as 70 defendants at pretrial or sentencing into community programs and to work closely with individuals to reduce rates of reoffense and time spent in jail. The MHJDT will strive to balance the individual treatment needs of the defendants, the legal requirements of the courts, and the safety needs of the community.

The Durham Center, the local management entity for managing mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability services, will serve as the lead agency. The Durham County Sheriff's Office will serve as the co-lead agency, and will handle the system changes in the jail. The Durham Criminal Justice Partnership Program (a state, county, and community collaborative), the Adult System of Care Coalition, and the Durham Results-Based Accountability Initiative will also partner in this effort. The grant funds will support a contract to secure three jail diversion specialists and an evaluator, office supplies, and travel to meetings.


Date Created: August 26, 2008