Douglas County is one of 13 counties selected by the National Association of Counties to participate in a new County Justice Peer Learning Network. As a participant, Douglas County will receive technical assistance to implement solutions to provide support for justice-involved individuals with mental illness using a racial and ethnic disparities framework.
The County Justice Peer Learning Network (PLN) will take place from January 2020 to June 2021 with quarterly virtual network calls and two peer exchanges in spring 2020 and spring 2021. The first virtual network call will be Jan. 30. The PLN receives support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge.
The PLN will provide opportunities to:
- Learn from county peers, subject matter experts and jurisdictions from the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) network about successful strategies to reduce the number of individuals with mental illnesses in local justice systems.
- Engage county leadership in justice, health and human services to find alternatives to jail use.
- Learn about the intersection of mental health and racial and ethnic disparities for justice-involved individuals and strategies to engage people in appropriate treatment and services rather than jail.
At the end of the PLN, participants will be able to identify gaps in their justice systems for diversion of individuals with mental illness as well as implement solutions for providing these individuals with a continuum of care. Participants will leave the PLN with an action plan for implementing a policy or program that aims to reduce the number of individuals with mental illness in their jails while addressing racial and ethnic disparities within their criminal justice system.
“We are really excited to receive technical assistance from the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge team for addressing racial and ethnic disparities in our criminal justice system. We believe we can add to the Peer Learning Network by sharing our experiences in reducing the number of people with mental illness being booked into our jail,” said Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinator Mike Brouwer.
Douglas County Commissioner Michelle Derusseau and Brouwer will oversee the grant and travel to the on-site meetings.
The other 12 counties selected are: Coconino County, Arizona; Newton County, Georgia; Lake County, Illinois; Merrimack County, New Hampshire; Bernalillo County, New Mexico; Durham County, North Carolina; Franklin County and Lucas County, Ohio; Dane County, Eau Claire County and Sauk County, Wisconsin; and Whatcom County, Washington.