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Community Innovations strengthen interface of behavioral health, criminal justice

Utilizing administrative savings achieved from the July 2013 consolidation of state-funded agencies for mental health and addiction services under a single umbrella, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) began funding a Community Innovations initiative. OhioMHAS invested $1.5 million in State Fiscal Year 2014 toward 12 projects, which help link non-violent offenders with community-based behavioral healthcare services. During 2015, a second round of funding pushed $1.5 million toward 17 projects, serving 31 counties. The state's $3 million in funding over that SFY14-15 biennium reached 53 counties through the Community Innovations projects.

During the SFY 2016-17 biennium, OhioMHAS has invested $6 million ($3 million each fiscal year) to fund 23 criminal justice and behavioral health linkage grants in 33 counties to reduce the number of individuals with a severe mental illness, addiction or co-occurring disorder who are incarcerated in local correctional facilities. Statewide, Community Innovations projects have served more than 6,600 individuals in state fiscal year 2016. Of those individuals served, 74 percent had no new arrests.

The Community Innovations initiative encourages communities in Ohio to forge collaborative relationships between the behavioral health and criminal justice systems so that individuals with mental illness and/or alcohol and other drug addiction receive the care they need. This, in turn, helps to reduce recidivism, increase public safety and minimize harm to those who come in contact with law enforcement.

According to the National Institute of Corrections, 17 percent of the jail population in the United States has a serious mental illness and 68 percent has a substance use disorder. An estimated 72 percent of the jail population has a co-occurring substance use disorder when serious mental illness is diagnosed. By diverting appropriate individuals from county jails and prisons to treatment and preventing recidivism, communities could see a significant reduction in spending. In Ohio, the average cost of addiction treatment in the community is $1,600 (without medication-assisted treatment), and the average cost of mental health treatment including two medications is $7,500 per year; whereas, it costs $25,269 a year to incarcerate an adult in prison. On a daily basis, the cost of incarcerating an offender in prison is $69.23; a day in jail is about $75, while the cost of parole for one day is only $11.54.

SFY 2016 and 2017 Criminal Justice Linkage grants

View the files below for information on SFY 2016 Justice Linkages Grants:
Read the Nov. 19, 2015, press release
SFY 2016 Map of Grantees
SFY 2016 Project Overviews

A second round of funding for SFY 2015 was announced Dec. 9, 2014, at an event in Portage County:
Read the Dec. 9, 2014, press release
SFY 2015 Community Innovations Project Overviews
2014-2015 Community Innovations Map

View the files below for more information on the first round of projects:
Read the Dec. 19, 2013, press release.
2014-15 Budget for Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Linkages
SFY 2014 Community Innovations Project Overviews

2014 Community Innovations Map