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Douglas County joins nationwide call to action to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 4:32pm

Douglas County announced today its continued commitment to reduce the number of people in the Douglas County Correctional Facility who have mental illnesses by participating in the newest initiative from Stepping Up, Set, Measure, Achieve - a nationwide call to action to reduce the prevalence of mental illness in local justice systems.

The multi-year effort will focus on creating measurable reductions to the Douglas County Corrections Facility population with serious mental illnesses (SMI) and achieving:

  • Jail Bookings: 10% reduction annually. (In 2019, the SMI population in the Douglas County Corrections Facility was 9%, the goal equals a 1% reduction).
  • Average Length of Stay (ALOS): 5% reduction annually. (In 2019, the average length of stay was 27 days, the goal will be 25 days).
  • Connections to Care: establish an electronic data collection process. Douglas County has not collectively tracked data about whether people connect with the care they are referred to.
  • Recidivism: 5 percent reduction annually. (In 2018, the county had a 66% recidivism rate, the goal will be a 62% rate).

“We joined the Stepping Up Initiative five years ago with the goal of reducing the prevalence of serious mental illness in our corrections facility. With the support of national partners and a network of like-minded counties, we have significantly reduced the prevalence of SMI in our facility. Our next step is to ensure we continue this reduction until a person with mental illness is no more likely to be booked than anyone else in our community,” said Mike Brouwer, Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinator.

Set, Measure, Achieve is a new effort from Stepping Up, a national initiative launched in May 2015 by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, the National Association of Counties (NACo), and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Foundation. Stepping Up rallies counties to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in local justice systems and ultimately connect more people to needed treatment. To date, more than 520 counties have joined the initiative.

Douglas County signed a resolution to join Stepping Up in October 2015. It was one of the first seven counties nationwide to join the initiative and has been recognized as an innovator county. In May 2019, Douglas County was recognized for its work by The CSG Justice Center, NACo and APA Foundation during a community event.

Since joining Stepping Up, the Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and its Stepping Up Initiative work group have worked to establish baseline data and have successfully implemented policies and programs to reduce mental illness in the Douglas County Correctional Facility and increase connections to treatment, including: increased Crisis Intervention Team training for law enforcement, and establishment of an Intensive Crisis Team at LMH Health, an Assess-Identify-Divert program, a District Attorney’s Office Prosecutor Lead Women’s Diversion Program, and Behavioral Health Court.

Representing Douglas County, Brouwer will participate in a special event at 1 p.m. Sept. 30 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Stepping Up and to launch the Set, Measure, Achieve. He will serve on a roundtable discussion with representatives from other innovator counties who will each share their goals for Set, Measure, Achieve.

To learn more about Set, Measure, Achieve, please visit www.stepuptogether.org. To learn more about the Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, please visit douglascountyks.org/cjcchub.

 

 

Media Contact

Karrey Britt, Communications Specialist
785-330-2894