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Criminal Justice Liaison Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $250,000)

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 Henry County (Georgia) Board of Commissioners (HCBOC) and Henry County Counseling Center (HCCC) will use Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program funds for Planning and Implementation (Category II) of the 'Criminal Justice Liaison Program' (CJLP) to decrease criminalization of people with mental illness. The goal of the program is to ensure persons with psychiatric disorders receive effective treatment in lieu of criminalization. CJLP will focus on persons diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness who are: 1) charged and held at the Henry County Jail; 2) currently on probation or parole and at risk of re-offending due to symptoms and behaviors related to their psychiatric disorders; or 3) bonded out of the jail but appropriate for treatment.

It is expected that the majority of participants will be identified prior to adjudication and diverted to treatment, under the auspices of the court in which they are charged. Participation will be voluntary. Early identification, referral and treatment will be ensured through collaborative working arrangements between HCCC, HCBOC, the jail, the courts, the prosecutors' offices, defense attorneys and probation/parole. The program will employ a mental health professional who will conduct assessments, develop and oversee treatment plans, provide intensive therapy, and serve as liaison to the courts; and a Certified Peer Specialist, who will serve as a role model for participants as well as provide outreach services.

The program will offer the intensity of treatment services and linkage with resources that is not currently available with existing resources, and will emphasize participation in normal life role functions rather than an institutionalized lifestyle. CJLP is expected to serve a minimum of 35 participants. HCCC will offer a full array of mental health services, including psychiatric care, to augment the services provided by the program. A local university will provide program evaluation.

The objectives of the program will include: (1) Reduction of amount of time at Henry County Counseling Center; (2) Reduction of the amount of time at Henry Medical Center Emergency Department; (3) Obtain proper equipment for Henry County Counseling Center (HCCC) to conduct more screenings for medical problems, enabling reduction in referrals to Henry Medical Center Emergency Department (HMCED); and (4) Reduction of the amount of time waiting for an evaluation to determine need for hospitalization.


Date Created: September 17, 2008