County awarded Justice Mental Health Collaboration Program Grant

Alachua County was awarded a Justice Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) Grant by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Alachua County was one of seven new jurisdictions nationwide to be awarded Category 1 JMHCP funding in 2017.

This grant provides a total of $152,435 over two years to support a countywide collaborative effort to reduce the prevalence of individuals with mental health disorders in the Alachua County Jail who can safely be supervised and treated in the community.

The Alachua County Department of Court Services will lead the Justice Mental Health project team, which includes the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, the City of Gainesville Police Department, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Gainesville Chapter, and the Alachua County Public Safety Coordinating Council.

The project will build on progress that the County and its partners have already made through Stepping Up Alachua County: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails, along with other programs. The project will be split into a planning and implementation phase. During the planning phase, the County will engage with research partners at the University of Florida to improve data collection and sharing to better screen, monitor, assess, and address mental illness in the County Jail and the local criminal justice system. The Justice Mental Health project team will use the results of the research study, along with system mapping, to identify service gaps and develop a strategic plan to work towards the goal of reducing incarceration of individuals with mental health disorders who can safely be supervised and treated in the community. During the implementation phase of the grant project, funding will be used to procure training and technical assistance to address identified service gaps and implement the Justice Mental Health strategic plan.

Court Services Director Peria Duncan said, “The allied organizations in Alachua County have a long history of collaborating to address issues in our local criminal justice and treatment systems.” She continued, “This proposal is an excellent initiative to develop a more precise understanding of the incidence of mental illness in the Jail and the system as a whole. With this, we can be even more effective in reducing the prevalence of mental illness in this setting while continuing to protect public safety and we are very excited about this opportunity.”

 

For more information, contact Peria Duncan at 352-338-7390 or pduncan@alachuacounty.us

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