This day and a half workshop focused on people with mental illness and co-occurring disorders, involved with the criminal justice system in our county and more than 25 participants from across the criminal justice continuum participated including advocates, law enforcement executives, behavioral health providers, judges and a host of community leaders—as well as individuals with lived experience. Similar to a Community Dialogue event held in September of 2016 which engaged a wide range of community professionals and advocates; this exercise provided an opportunity to build on that work, as well as the Stepping Up Initiative work since 2016—at a much deeper level.
The purpose of the exercise was to evaluate the current process and resources available at 6 different intercepts within the criminal justice system including community services, law enforcement, detention and initial hearings, jail and court, reentry and community corrections. The aim was to also identify system gaps in service delivery and to identify strategies for optimizing local resources for enhanced service delivery across the criminal justice system in Alamance County.
The top priorities voted on by the participants are as follows:
- Create a Diversion Center
- Improve Communication between hospital and community
- Expand and coordinate crisis services
- Expand Co Responder/MH Crisis Response Team Models across county LE Jurisdictions
- Collect and Analyze Data in Decision Making
Under the oversight of the Justice Advisory Council, the county Stepping Up Initiative will be organizing and working to address these priority areas over the coming year by engaging the appropriate community partners with regular progress updates being provided to the Justice Advisory Council.