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  • County OKs $1M grant to fund seamless jail transition for detainees with mental health and addiction issues

    Oct 03, 2019 | Read More News
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    File: Crisis Response Center exteriorPima County's efforts to lower its jail population and assist people suffering behavioral health issues received a major infusion of funding Oct. 1 when the Board of Supervisors accepted a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice

    The award will allow the Behavioral Health Department to fund its Inmate Navigation, Verification, Enrollment, Support and Treatment (INVEST) Project over the next four years. INVEST seeks to reduce recidivism among individuals diagnosed with both mental health and addiction issues while identifying and addressing behavioral health gaps within the criminal justice system. 

    The program will identify eligible adult detainees likely to return to jail and provide them with bridged care and extensive case management for up to 60 days after release. Participants receive services based on their individual needs, including recovery therapy and support, direct assistance with housing, transportation, job training, GED preparation and finding insurance coverage.

    "It costs far less to provide stability services than it does to put people behind bars," Deputy County Administrator Francisco Garcia said. "We want to find the most effective methods to reduce recidivism and break the cycle of crisis after crisis we see in so many jail detainees."

    For its part, Pima County Behavioral Health committed just over $352,000 in matching funds for the program over the four-year span of the grant. The department will hire a program manager to oversee operations and work with private behavioral health practitioners and other stakeholders to develop comprehensive re-entry plans for each program participant.

    “We want community buy-in on the concept, with broad and deep support” Garcia said. “We want to establish a process that allows eligible detainees to make a seamless transition from jail to post-release community service providers.”

    The project’s success will be assessed based on participants’ recidivism, health, education and employment results compared to a control group.

    Agencies supporting the project include the Pima County Sheriff’s Department; County Attorney’s Office; Superior Court; Connections Health Solutions; Community Medical Services; Arizona Complete Health; Centurion Managed Care; Old Pueblo Community Services; Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona; COPE Community Services; and the City of Tucson's Mental Health Court.