We’re very excited to announce that Human Support Services is one of only three nonprofits selected nationwide for a new initiative designed to improve mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment outcomes for incarcerated individuals.
The initiative is a project of the The National Council for Behavioral Health.
We applied for and were selected by the National Council to participate in this training and support initiative, which is formally called the Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Collaborative (CJBHC).
The initiative, which will be coordinated locally in a joint effort between our organization and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, will focus on early identification and treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders of incarcerated individuals at the Monroe County Jail.
I believe this collaboration is an outstanding opportunity for Monroe County to make great strides forward in addressing mental health and substance abuse disorders in our justice system.
We want to address these issues the second the individuals come into the jail, and hopefully start the rehabilitation process much sooner so we can stop the cycle of recidivism.
While incarcerated, jails can spend two to three times more on individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders than on people without, but often do not see improvements in recidivism or recovery, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health.
The National Council also reports that more than 60 percent of individuals reentering their communities following incarceration live with mental illnesses and substance use disorders, and because these concerns are left unaddressed, those individuals face a much higher risk of recidivism.
With CJBHC, the National Council is hoping to address these issues, one community at a time.
By improving the continuity of care during and after incarceration, and promoting the overall health of a justice-involved individual, we are increasing the chances of a positive outcome.
If we can reduce recidivism among the justice-involved population who face mental health and substance abuse disorders, we can lighten the load on law enforcement, and ultimately, improve public safety.
The 12-month training and technical assistance initiative will offer corrections officers and HSS staff the opportunity to develop organizational processes for screening and assessment, care planning and coordination and intervention.
The initiative will strengthen the existing relationship between HSS and the Sheriff’s Department, and will create a “pipeline” for justice-involved individuals, establishing a standardized process of intervention and treatment options, and ensuring continuity of services upon release.
Reducing recidivism among individuals with mental health concerns and substance abuse disorders would benefit not just the individuals served, but also the general public and taxpayers, said Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing.
“I would say 75 percent of the total jail population has a mental health or drug issue,” Rohlfing said. “If we can get these people the help they need instead of just locking them up, we would reduce the money needed to house them long term. In the big picture, we’ll be able to focus our attention and resources on violent crime.”
This new initiative will complement the existing Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) program, which is currently facilitated by HSS in Monroe County. Through ARI, non-violent offenders are given the opportunity to engage in intensive treatment and case management services in lieu of a prison sentence. ARI participants must be recommended by the court.
HSS and Sheriff’s department staff, along with other members of the newly-formed Collaborative, will convene for an official kickoff meeting in Washington D.C. on April 26, 2018.
I am personally very excited about this opportunity, not just for our organization, but for the future of our community.
– Anne King,
HSS Executive Director