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Mental Health Collaboration

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $250,000)

The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) seeks to increase public safety through an innovative, cross-system, collaborative response to individuals with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal or juvenile justice systems. This program is funded through Public Law 111-8 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2009). 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 processed 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 Cook County Sheriff's Office will use the planning and implementation grant for a multi-layered program designed to divert mentally ill women early in the Cook County criminal justice system. The program will utilize the Sequential Intercept Model (Munetz & Griffin, 2006) as the conceptual framework. The program will assess women at post arrest through the implementation of a newly developed specialty court, designed to address the impact of both mental illness and substance abuse as co-occurring disorders. The specialty court judge will place women on probation with a condition that requires participation in the Cook County Sheriff's Department of Women's Justice Services' gender-specific diversion program. This program will provide integrated treatment, comprehensive case management, and linkages to multiple community services to facilitate community reentry and family reunification services. All key stakeholders, including formerly incarcerated women, will be involved in the implementation of the program. The lack of effective, gender specific treatment for mental illness and consistent communication between branches of the criminal justice system impact the outcomes for mentally ill women, including use of substances and recidivism. While there is a mental health court in Cook County for individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders who have received treatment from the State of Illinois, the majority of women in the Cook County Jail with mental illness are underserved, and they lack access to community services. This initiative will correct this deficit and yield better outcomes for the women and their families.


Date Created: September 22, 2009