Stepping Up is a national initiative supported by the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, the National Association of Counties (NACo), and the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Alamance County has undertaken the task of adapting and implementing the initiative locally through the “Leadership Team” consisting of key community leaders in law enforcement, local government, and private entities. This dedicated team is committed to establishing a responsive system of services and supports that creates conditions that allow for optimal success for those living with mental illness and/or co-occurring substance dependence and who are or are at risk of being involved in the criminal justice system.
Sheriff Terry Johnson, one of the primary local leaders of the Stepping Up Initiative, has for many years been concerned with this problem and has made it publicly known that we are failing this population. In this course of speaking at many venues, Sheriff Johnson has repeatedly said, “We are doing a disservice to this population. They need treatment, not incarceration!” Stepping Up gives our community a vehicle to comprehensively address this issue in Alamance County.
Mission: The mission of the Alamance County Stepping up Task Force is to reduce the number of persons with mental illness or co-occurring and substance use who are involved with the criminal justice system.
Vision: We envision a community that respects, supports, and embraces persons with mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance dependence, and whose systems of health and behavioral health, law enforcement, justice, human services, public safety, and advocates work together in a deliberate and coordinated fashion to optimize the level of services provided for them and minimize their level of incarceration in the county detention center.