This brief shows Stepping Up counties how to apply the tools they already have in place to incrementally build policies, programs, and practices that increase racial equity and mitigate disparities.
This document provides a six-question blueprint of the Stepping Up initiative to demonstrate to participating counties how to apply the tools they have in place in order to incrementally build policies, programs, and practices that increase racial equity and mitigate disparities. Each of the six questions provides a corresponding discussion of how to plan and implement related actions. The document describes Stepping Up, noting that it is a national initiative to reduce the overincarceration of people with mental illnesses and is a partnership between The Council of State Governments Justice Center, the National Association of Counties, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. The Stepping Up initiative seeks to address the overrepresentation of people with serious mental illness (SMI) in local jails, noting that those individuals tend to have longer jail stays and higher recidivism rates than people without SMI. It also notes that Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) individuals who also have an SMI hold a dual disproportionality in the criminal justice system and experience heightened disparities. The appendix includes racial and ethnic categories and combinations, as well as endnotes with links.