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Mobile County Jail Diversion Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $249,973)

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 Mobile County Commission will use FY 2008 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program funds for the planning and implementation of the Mobile County Jail Diversion Program. The Commission will work with a cross-systems partnership of local stakeholders in Mobile County to prevent the criminalization and unnecessary incarceration of nonviolent misdemeanor adult offenders with mental health and substance abuse issues. The Commission will subcontract with AltaPointe Health Systems, the community mental health center, to coordinate this implementation effort.

This project will develop a collaborative effort between justice, mental health, and other community providers to prevent initial involvement in the criminal justice system, decrease admissions to jail, and minimize the time spent incarcerated. This project will also engage mentally ill offenders in treatment at the earliest opportunity, and provide for continuity of care and supportive services for those leaving the corrections system and reentering the community.

The project's main goal will be to prevent the arrest and re-arrest of mentally ill citizens through community level treatment, support, and monitoring. The program will: 1) provide crisis intervention training to law enforcement officers; 2) screen detainees for the presence of a mental disorder; 3) use mental health professionals to evaluate inmates; 4) advise prosecutors, defense attorneys, community mental health providers, and the courts to facilitate a mental health disposition; 5) provide for continuity of treatment between the jail clinic and the community mental health provider; and 6) provide referral services and agency contacts.

To meet the goals, the program will also: 1) monitor failure to appear outcomes for those at risk due to mental illness; 2) generate offender specific plans for alternative sentencing/deferred prosecution recommendations; 3) form and support interagency collaboration between criminal justice, mental health, and substance abuse treatment systems; 4) develop a pre-booking diversion program to enable non-violent offenders to be evaluated and treated in a secure setting on a crisis basis; and 5) further develop community education, outreach, support, and funding.


Date Created: August 20, 2008