Correction and detention facilities are currently the de facto mental health providers. Stepping Up initiatives empower the public sector to work together in implementing programs to address the growing number of individuals with mental health illnesses that end up in jails and prisons. With more than 500 committed counties, Stepping Up provides the framework from which efforts can be developed to address issues any community is facing.
This session’s speakers will provide an overview of the Stepping Up initiative and how two counties implemented it. Risë Haneberg is the Deputy Division Director of the Behavioral Health Division for the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Kelly Rowe is a Sheriff in Lubbock County, Texas while Calvin Hayden is Johnson County, Kansas’ Sheriff.
Points discussed in the webinar include:
- An introduction to Stepping Up – its beginnings, timeline and the agencies involved in the initiative.
- A look into the mental health crisis in jails – statistics highlighting its gravity, factors driving the crisis, and challenges related to it.
- Stepping Up’s goal to create a paradigm shift in how law enforcement handles individuals with mental health conditions and divert them to a more appropriate care and treatment provider.
- A drill-down of the Six Questions To Ask when implementing efforts to reduce the population of those with mental illness in jails and specific examples of how this is being done.
- Ensuring leadership commitment to provision the needed resources to initiate the program.
- Doing timely screening and assessment to determine the extent of the problem and inform decision making.
- Collecting data that is easily accessible to establish baselines, track performance, and determine targets.
- Conducting comprehensive process analysis and service inventory to streamline procedures, and identify gaps, intercept points and ways to improve the system.
- Utilizing all the data and analysis to come up with strategies that are prioritized by considering factors like needs, projections, and funding.
- Ongoing tracking of progress to measure the impact of the initiative in addressing the issue of individuals with mental illnesses in jails.
- Focusing on the Four Key Measures when prioritizing system improvements and coming up with alternatives or changes.
- Lubbock County’s and Johnson County’s Stepping Up initiatives.
- A look into the counties’ jail population and establishing their baselines.
- How they adhered to the Four Key Measures and Six Questions in their processes and programs.
- The specific opportunities and systems they took advantage of to maximize the impact of their programs.
- The various programs and efforts they put into place.
- The data-driven approach that allowed them to track changes and measure outcomes.
- Emphasizing the importance of inter-agency collaborations.
Questions raised by the audience concerned:
- The value of providing recovery training and treatments to inmates.
- Funding sources and costs related to the various programs implemented through Stepping Up.
- The limitations of the Stepping up initiative when it comes to juvenile populations.
- Dealing with individuals who refuse treatment for serious mental health conditions.
- Reinstating Medicaid for individuals scheduled for release.
- Defining the terms that are used to measure outcomes.
- Facility options for long-term diversion.
Resources Mentioned During the Webinar:
- “I really enjoyed the refresher points that Ms. Haneberg gave about the Stepping Up Initiative. Repetition makes learning much easier. The presenters took their time in speaking slowly enough for the audience to understand and process what they’re saying — whether hearing it for the first time or not. I’m relieved that others share similar challenges in regard to helping this unique population within our jail. I feel inspired once again that our county will take our SU Initiative to a whole new level.” — Venus
- “Proactive with real-world examples of what works. Great presentation by all.” — Vivienne
- “An important subject. Very timely. We are just starting.” — Robert
- “The most valuable thing I heard is the SUCCESS some of the counties are making thru commitment, data, agency collaboration all working together!!” — Rory
- “Stepping Up is working!” — Roger