Durham County CJRC Recognizes National Stepping Up Day of Action May 16th
Second Chance Act grant from BJA highlights innovative work in reentry services
Durham, NC – Annually, the Durham County Criminal Justice Resource Center (CJRC) recognizes the Stepping Up Initiative’s (SUI) Stepping Up Day of Action and on Thursday, May 16, 2019, it will join in the national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails by highlighting a recently-awarded grant specific to improving support for the reentry of adults with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders.
As high as 64 percent of the nearly 7 million adults in the criminal justice system (i.e., jails, prisons, and probation) have a mental illness and most of these adults will need reentry supports. Last spring, the CJRC applied for a Second Chance Act grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and in October 2018 Durham County was one of seven counties across the country selected to receive funding for innovations in reentry. Second Chance Act grants are provided by the BJA to help communities improve their reentry services for adults with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders. The Durham County Integrated Reentry Program for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Illness (DCo IR CSAMI) is designed to enhance and better utilize the existing jail- and community-based support services, to create a more integrated and seamless transition to the community for adults with co-occurring disorders. Improving access to and delivery of services for these individuals is vital because their mental illness, substance use, and other barriers to successful reentry, like lack of housing, employment, and/or access to treatment, puts them at a high risk for re-arrest.
The three-year grant, totaling $749,771, will be utilized to improve screening and assessment for mental illness and substance use disorders, to facilitate comprehensive reentry case planning, and to provide more training for staff. Aligned with the goals of SUI, the grant will work collaboratively with community groups and incarcerated people to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. Groups involved will include corrections, substance abuse and mental health treatment providers, correctional health, and parole or probation. Bringing together different stakeholders, including members of the Durham Stepping Up Committee, provides a diversity of perspectives to help the County address complex challenges that require creative solutions. The grant will also encourage participation by the justice-involved individuals with co-occurring disorders, in their treatment and reentry planning, by including them in the case planning process.
Durham County is approximately 7 months into the first year of the grant, which is dedicated to planning the activities and outputs of the grant. The following two years will be focused on putting the plans into action (the implementation phase), followed by an evaluation performed by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Social Work. The grant has the capacity to serve approximately 360 individuals, all of whom will come from the Jail Mental Health Unit pod in the Durham County Detention Center (DCDC), which opened in November of 2017 to better serve individuals being detained with severe mental illness (SMI) and severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI).
The CJRC and Durham Stepping Up Initiative Committee are continuing to build the resources and fill the gaps in services identified through the Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) process, which began in February. A workshop took place as part of “Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails”, and allowed local, multidisciplinary teams of people to facilitate cross-systems collaboration to identify and discuss ways in which barriers between the criminal justice, mental health, and substance use systems can be reduced. Integrated local plans are also being developed.
“The Criminal Justice Resource Center, Durham Stepping Up Initiative Committee, and the Integrated Reentry grant steering committee are working in unison to improve the systems in place and to enhance community partnerships to better meet the needs of individuals with co-occurring disorders,” said CJRC Director Gudrun Parmer. “The dedication and commitment to improving outcomes for our justice-involved residents is clear. We hope to continue to raise awareness, interest, and engagement within the local community around these exciting endeavors.”
For more information on the CJRC’s Reentry Services, contact CJRC Director Gudrun Parmer at (919) 560-0500 or email@example.com or CJRC Assistant Director Roshanna Parker at (919) 560-0550 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on the national Stepping Up initiative is available at: https://stepuptogether.org/.