A Focus on Behavioral Health Reforms in Local Jails
July 14, 2021 | Grantee News | Criminal Justice
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Building on momentum for evidence-based reforms to local justice systems, the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) is expanding to include a new cohort of communities focused on reforms that reduce the number of people with behavioral health conditions involved in their local criminal justice system.

We will partner with Policy Research, Inc. (PRI) to support the behavioral health-focused cohort. With this new cohort, the SJC has grown to a network of 57 sites in 32 states working to rethink how we use jails.

The 11 sites in the cohort will use a peer-to-peer model to maximize what SJC sites have learned about how to accelerate behavioral health reform and diversion across the criminal justice system. They aim to minimize the number of people with behavioral health needs in the criminal justice system.

The sites will emphasize community interventions that achieve both public health and public safety goals, and will use community-driven, race-conscious solutions to reduce harm to populations disparately impacted by the criminal justice system.

The expansion will bring in six communities/organizations new to the SJC:

  • Eau Claire County (WI)
  • West Texas Centers in Howard County (TX)
  • San Juan County (NM)
  • Middlesex County (MA)
  • Orange County (CA)
  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission

These six new sites will join five communities already working to reduce over-incarceration of people with behavioral health needs in local criminal justice systems:

 

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