Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $50,000)
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.
Pickens County is the recipient of a Category I Planning grant. The grant funds will be used to plan a mental health court for the three-county Appalachian Judicial Circuit. The Appalachian Judicial Circuit Mental Health Court Task Force (MHC Task Force) will receive funds to design a strategic, collaborative plan to initiate systemic change for the identification and treatment of system-involved individuals with mental illness or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. A Mental Health Program Coordinator will be hired with grant funds to coordinate the efforts of the MHC Task Force in the development of a collaborative structure to guide the strategic collaborative planning process; assist the MHC Task Force with developing formal collaborative agreements to inform the strategic, collaborative planning process; and assist in increasing the use of relevant data to inform the strategic collaborative planning process. The MHC Task Force will attend trainings and observe other operational mental health courts throughout the state, publish policies and procedures for the mental health court, identify community resources and publish a directory, create an organizational flowchart of an individual's current flow through the criminal justice system and determine points of intercept wherein resources of a mental health court will be most successful, distribute written surveys to potential consumers and family members of mentally ill or co-occuring disorder individuals, and publish an assessment for screening mentally ill or co-occuring disorder individuals.