National Initiative Launched to Reduce Number of People with Mental Illness in Jails

A national initiative has launched urging counties to step up to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails. As noted on the initiative’s website, the problem is widespread with jails across the nation housing more individuals with mental illness than their local psychiatric hospitals. As announced in a Stepping Up Initiative news release:

Recognizing the critical role local and state officials play in supporting change, the National Association of Counties (NACo), the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) have come together to lead a national initiative to help advance counties’ efforts to reduce the number of adults with mental and co-occurring substance use disorders in jails. With support from the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the initiative will build on the many innovative and proven practices being implemented across the country. The initiative engages a diverse group of organizations with expertise on these issues, including those representing sheriffs, jail administrators, judges, community corrections professionals, treatment providers, people with mental illnesses and their families, mental health and substance use program directors, and other stakeholders.

The initiative has two components:

  • A Call to Action for counties and other stakeholders to come together to achieve county and state-level change by addressing 6 action areas, and
  • A National Summit in spring of 2016 to promote county-led plans to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails.

A webinar providing more information on the initiative will be held May 14 at 2 p.m.

For more information:

Register for the Getting Started Webinar on May 14 at 2 p.m. EDT

Read the full Stepping Up Initiative news release.

Visit the Stepping Up Initiative website.