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“What county officials and the public should know about the incarcerated mentally ill population is not just that these individuals will significantly benefit from a system of comprehensive services, such as housing, health, and human services, but that such a strategy would be less expensive and more effective in the long-term.”
- National Association of Counties Report titled: Best practices for diverting mentally ill individuals from county jails. - June 2003
Lack of services or barriers to service will increase the likelihood that people with mental illness
will end up in jail.
* Vaughn & Schyette, 2007, study of mentally ill in NC jails.
“Within available resources….”
a. A designated LME employee who is responsible for screening the daily jail booking log for known mental health consumers.
b. Protocols for effective communication between the LME and the jail staff including collaborative development of medication management protocols between the jail staff and the mental health providers.
c. Training to help detention officers recognize signals of mental illness.
- NC Council of Community Programs
- Easter Seals UCP / ASAP
- NC Association of County Commissioners
- News & Observer article quoting Verla Insko - State representative and chairwoman of the House Committee on Mental Health Reform.
Interaction with police
Pre-booking diversion (to crisis unit or other community service)
sentence is served
Core Conceptual Model(Outcomes for jail diversion depend on a comprehensive mental health service system, and clients being effectively linked to that system)
“Successful jail diversion efforts require more than simply diverting an individual with mental illness away from jail. He or she must also be diverted into appropriate and adequate treatment services.”
“Poorly organized jail diversion programs lacking a mental health infrastructure produce short-term results that may harm the client and community.”
Mental Health staff------
The Law (and electorate)
The wider community and sometimes federal judge
The client, family, advocates, local community, and state.Different Constituencies
Justice system definition of diversion: To divert the criminal case out of the justice system and off the court docket. Judge’s may view this type of diversion as a criminal’s attempt to “get out of jail free.”
Mental health system definition of diversion: To divert the client from jail to the community mental health system. Deferred prosecution, continued court oversight, and (perhaps) mandatory treatment are included in this definition.
*To a judge, deferred prosecution is not diversion.