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DHS news release

Jan. 17, 2008

General contact: Ken Palke, 503-947-5286
Program contacts: Len Ray, 503-945-9714, Michael W. Moore, 503-947-5538

DHS allocates $4 million to move mentally ill from jail into treatment

Programs have begun in all 36 Oregon counties to move persons with severe mental illness who don't pose a public safety risk out of jail cells and into community-based treatment programs to continue their recovery.

The Oregon Department of Human Services Addictions and Mental Health Division is distributing $4 million authorized by the 2007 Legislature for jail diversion programs. These are aimed at individuals charged with low-level crimes whose treatment needs are best met in a mental health setting rather than a county jail with fewer treatment resources.

"This is a win-win program for the community. Instead of being in jail, persons who need it receive mental health treatment. And county corrections officials are allowed to do what they are better prepared to do, which is to serve people without mental illnesses who commit crimes," said Bob Nikkel, DHS assistant director for addictions and mental health.

The county-level programs reduce the number mentally ill persons in the criminal justice system or Oregon State Hospital (OSH). Many such programs also provide immediate services when a person is released from jail, including mental health or treatment courts.

A 2005 state survey found that approximately 6,100 persons are lodged in Oregon jails each day, 500 or so with serious mental illness.

"These programs involve intensive case management, which includes working with courts, parole and probation officials, and others to ensure that treatment, housing and other needs are being met," said Michael Moore, AMH adult services coordinator.

Moore added that many severely mentally ill persons also are diagnosed with a substance addiction, which requires specialized treatment.

"It makes a difference if people are being treated instead of incarcerated," Moore said. "The benefit of treatment is huge on a person's road to recovery from mental illness."

Here is a summary of jail-diversion funding and activities in the counties:

  • Baker ($12,930) -- Provide outreach to jail inmates with emphasis on those vulnerable to transfer to OSH. Purchase medications following release. Provide medication management, outpatient therapeutic services and support. Implement diversion activities.
  • Benton ($106,755) -- Reduce criminal justice involvement and re-incarceration. Improve quality of care while in custody, on probation or parole and when released. Improve collaboration with mental health systems, non-profits, private providers, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys. Facilitate housing, transportation, intensive treatment, supported employment and medication management.
  • Clackamas ($387,729) -- Designate a county mental health corrections liaison. Implement mental health courts with sheriff, jail managers, judiciary and stakeholders. Jail diversion income supports a position in the mental health court. Staff members work with Clackamas County Jail personnel to determine who is qualified for diversion. Provide individual, family and group treatment for mental health court participants.
  • Clatsop ($34,143) -- A half-time mental health liaison to the jail and court system for inmates identified, assessed and enrolled in these services.
  • Columbia ($43,546) -- The mental health corrections liaison will connect with jail personnel weekly to identify persons who qualify for the program. When clinically indicated, diversion from jail or state hospitalization will take place.
  • Coos ($54,832) -- A part-time mental health court/corrections liaison will provide services to persons with mental illness who have been arrested, jailed, or referred to OSH.
  • Crook ($22,805) -- A part-time person to coordinate with corrections staff to identify high-need clients, divert them from jail, or help those incarcerated transition back to the community.
  • Curry ($16,133) -- A part-time case manager to work in jail diversion and crisis triage.
  • Deschutes ($155,173) -- Expand the jail bridge program in which staff works with probation and parole officials to identify jailed mentally ill clients and connect them with community support. There will be approximately 60 clients in the first year, with 50 percent of inmates receiving jail outreach.
  • Douglas ($95,437) -- A mental health/corrections treatment team will meet weekly with a probation officer and supervisor to assign cases, discuss progress of ongoing cases and follow through with recommendations.
  • Grant ($6,411) -- Provide intensive case management and liaison with courts, probation officers and jail personnel.
  • Harney ($6,457) -- Make diversion arrangements, link with treatment providers, do outreach and provide medication supports.
  • Jackson ($190,484) -- Staff will increase intensive case management and conduct community outreach to ensure that persons with mental illness have access to resources, understand how to avoid incarceration, and develop skills needed for successful independent living.
  • Jefferson ($17,059) -- Treatment and community corrections staff will coordinate outreach and treatment/service approaches for joint clients. Treatment will continue if the client is in jail.
  • Josephine ($68,446) -- A part-time peer support specialist will provide outreach to 80 mentally ill consumers in jail, and a part-time case manager will work with clients released from jail.
  • Klamath ($58,918) -- A part-time person will work on mental health issues with a probation officer assigned to high-risk corrections offenders. The team will do case management, identify individual needs and provide support services.
  • Lake ($6,404) -- Provide outreach to jail inmates with serious mental illness. Upon release provide case management and other services.
  • Lane ($428,767) -- Add two members to a team providing assertive community treatment (ACT) services to those released or diverted from jail. Fund housing, medication and other related services.
  • Lincoln ($37,537) -- A part-time mental health liaison for outreach and diversion services. Provide financial assistance for medication and obtain housing/shelter to divert persons from jail or the state hospital.
  • Linn ($100,129) -- Provide intensive case management and liaison with courts, probation officers, and jails. Make diversion arrangements.
  • Malheur ($27,171) -- Designate a mental health liaison, further development of a mental health court, and continue case management and housing placements.
  • Marion ($300,702) -- A jail-diversion team to provide outreach case management service for medications, housing and other needs for inmates with serious mental illness. Fifty percent of funds used to support mental health courts.
  • Mid-Columbia (Gilliam, Hood River, Wasco, Sherman) ($40,792) -- Increase case manager's time as county corrections liaison to address Medicaid issues. Use funds to purchase medications and cover partial expenses for those being discharged from jail.
  • Morrow-Wheeler ($12,163) -- Designate a liaison for each county, provide outreach to jails, purchase medications, and make diversion arrangements.
  • Multnomah ($878,117) -- Three persons to work with community court and court liaisons to assist with jail diversions. Develop a mental health court. Two persons to ensure that treatment referral and case management services begin before a person's discharge from jail or OSH.
  • Polk ($64,604) -- Mental health corrections liaison will provide outreach to clients and make diversion arrangements.
  • Tillamook ($20,427) -- Provide outreach to mentally ill jail inmates. Assessments for possible diversion will be made in collaboration with corrections/jail staff. Housing vouchers will assist individuals in transitioning from jail to the community.
  • Umatilla ($67,507) -- Meet monthly with jail personnel to identify inmates with mental health issues and evaluate appropriateness of community treatment. Work with jail staff to identify mentally ill persons and provide consultation regarding treatment and community transition.
  • Union ($23,039) -- Purchase medications for individuals without resources and provide intensive case management and treatment services. Some money will be used for housing.
  • Wallowa ($5,675) -- Work with community partners to provide enhanced services for mentally ill people arrested, in jail, or referred to OSH for evaluation.
  • Washington ($519,320) -- Develop an ACT team to work with mental health courts and probation and parole officials. Persons with mental illnesses (consumers) may be referred into the program from jail, court, mental health court, or probation and parole.
  • Yamhill ($87,313) -- Support a part-time mental health specialist. Funds will be used for reporting to the court and participating in hearings, and to ensure treatment services to non-Medicaid eligible individuals.