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Events and Opportunities

Grant Opportunities

Application Deadline: June 15, 2018

There is tremendous local-level innovation occurring across the country aimed at reducing incarceration and making the criminal justice system more fair and effective at protecting communities. To support such innovative thinking nationwide, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has partnered with the Urban Institute to launch the Innovation Fund. The purpose of the Innovation Fund is to foster and support innovative ideas from local jurisdictions that are consistent with the goals of MacArthur's Safety and Justice Challenge to reduce over-incarceration in America while maintaining or enhancing public safety, with a particular focus on addressing disproportionate justice impact on low-income individuals and communities of color. In 2017, 20 jurisdictions were selected to join the initial cohort of Innovation Fund participants.

To build on the momentum generated by the Innovation Fund work to date, MacArthur and Urban are announcing a second Innovation Fund competition. Innovation Fund sites will receive a grant of $50,000 and technical assistance and peer learning support in their efforts to rethink justice systems and implement data-driven strategies to safely reduce jail populations.

Agencies, organizations, and other entities interested in applying for the Innovation Fund can access the program and grant application details at https://innovation-fund.fluidreview.com

Two informational webinars will be held. Registration is required. The webinars will be held:

If you would like to learn more about the Safety and Justice Challenge you can visit http://www.safetyandjusticechallenge.org.

SAMHSA's GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


Disclaimer: SAMHSA's GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation develops and distributes Newsflashes with support from SAMHSA. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of SAMHSA.

Upcoming Opportunities

Coming soon...


Stepping Up Day of Action | May 2018

In recognition of May as Mental Health Month, OhioMHAS will join peers across the nation to celebrate the three-year anniversary of Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails with a Day of Action on May 16, 2018.

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 effort has seen remarkable progress, with more than 415 counties across the country joining the movement by passing resolutions or proclamations to make this issue a top priority. Stepping Up Day of Action activities will take place across the country to share progress and raise public awareness of the issues facing individuals with mental illnesses, particularly those who are involved in or at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system. 

  • Click here to download the Day of Action planning toolkit. 

Stepping Up is led nationally by the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. 

In Ohio, the Stepping Up 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. Thus far, 34 Ohio counties have passed resolutions to join the effort.

Date: May 16, 2018

Stepping Up Conference | October 2018

Working with Clients with Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities | June 2017

The Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (CJ CCoE) received funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to sponsor specialized training for public defenders and assigned counsel from Ohio Stepping Up communities. Two free, one day courses were offered on June 21, 2017 and June 23, 2017. The goal of the training opportunity was to provide Public Defenders and Assigned Counsel with the tools, materials and knowledge to better represent clients with mental illness and/or intellectual disabilities. The materials from the event are posted below:


Medicaid and Jail Population Webinar | November 2016

On November 30, 2016, OhioMHAS hosted a webinar which featured a presentation and question and answer session with the Ohio Department of Medicaid. The webinar offered information on recent policy changes and procedures related to Medicaid for the jail population as well as other areas of the criminal justice system.

Ending the Criminalization of Mental Illness: Judge Leifman and Cindy Schwartz, Miami Dade County, Florida | October 2016

Judge Leifman and Cindy Schwartz attended a stakeholders meeting held at NEOMED on October 19, 2016 and provided a presentation entitled, Ending the Criminalization of Mental Illness, the following day (October 20, 2016).  Judge Leifman is an Associate Administrative Judge for Miami-Dade County Court in the Eleventh Judicial Criminal Mental Health Project and Cindy Schwartz is the Project Director for the Jail Diversion Program in the Eleventh Judicial Criminal Mental Health Project.  Judge Leifman and Cindy Schwartz provided expertise regarding changes Miami-Dade has made in how they handle mentally ill individuals within the Criminal Justice system.  Miami-Dade, Florida is a Stepping Up County that has made several strides to reduce the number of mentally ill individuals in jail.  Check out the links and attachments provided by Judge Leifman and Cindy Schwartz to learn more about the programs and policies in Miami-Dade:  

  • Miami-Dade Forensic Alternative Center (MD-FAC): Diverts individuals with mental illnesses that were adjudicated incompetent to proceed to trial (ITP) from placement in state treatment facilities to placement in community-based treatment and competency restoration services.  Program participants have been charged with less serious offenses and are screened to ensure they do not pose public safety risks.

Jail Diversion in Miami-Dade

Florida Legislation

Attorney General's Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness Meeting: Ideas that Cost Nothing | September 2016

On September 23, 2016, the Attorney General’s Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness convened to share information on free programs and opportunities that communities can implement to help address mental health needs. The Task Force was established in 2011 to address the significant number of mentally ill individuals cycling in and out of the criminal justice system. 

Presentations and Resources from the meeting:

In the news:  Ohio Attorney General DeWine Releases Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness Report

Stepping Up Together: Ohio Counties Meet for The Stepping Up Summit | June 2015

On June 16, 2015 state and county officials gathered in Columbus to officially launch the Ohio Stepping Up Initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses (including those with co-occurring substance use disorders) in jails. The Ohio Stepping Up Summit brought together teams from 23 counties to learn about best practices and implementation, and work together to develop local action plans. 

Presentations and Resources from the Summit: