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Ohio Stepping Up initiative to reduce jail incarceration

Stepping Up is a national initiative targeted at reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. Without change, large numbers of people with mental illnesses (many with co-occurring substance use disorders) will continue to cycle through the criminal justice system, often resulting in missed opportunities to link them to treatment, tragic outcomes, inefficient use of funding, and failure to improve public safety.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) is collaborating with other leading organizations and local experts to support the common goal. The initiative engages a diverse group of organizations, including those representing sheriffs, jail administrators, judges, community corrections professionals, treatment providers, people with mental illnesses and their families, mental health and substance use program directors, and other stakeholders.

Through its Community Innovations grants, which began in 2014, OhioMHAS took action to help counties reduce the number of criminal offenders with untreated mental illness and/or substance use disorders who continually cycle through county jails. Ohio Stepping Up will advance counties’ efforts through additional components: 1) the Call to Action, and 2) a National Summit.

As part of the Call to Action, Ohio's county elected officials are encouraged to work with other leaders, people with mental illnesses and their advocates, and other stakeholders to pass a resolution in support of Stepping Up and commit to the six Stepping Up action steps. As of June 6, 2016, 23 Ohio counties (26.1 percent of Ohio’s 88 counties) serving almost 52 percent of the state population have passed resolutions in support of Ohio Stepping Up.

Stepping Up Together: Ohio Counties Meet for The Stepping Up Summit

Medicaid and the Jail Population Webinar

Attorney General's Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness Meeting:
Ideas that Cost Nothing


Ending the Criminalization of Mental Illness: Judge Leifman and Cindy Schwartz,
Miami Dade County, Florida


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How to get started with Ohio Stepping Up


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