Stepping Up Initiative Launched
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Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce Number of
People with Mental Illness in Jails 

The number of people with mental illnesses in U.S. jails has reached a crisis level. People who deal with this problem every day agree that the current approach does little to improve public safety, stresses already strained budgets, and hurts people with mental illness and their loved ones. Despite the efforts of some counties to address the issue, the problem is more acute than ever because of the absence of a systems-level change across the country.
Stepping Up aims to bring these national efforts to the next level, uniting local and state stakeholders around a common goal: to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails. A collaboration between the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Foundation, Stepping Up asks county commissioners to pass a resolution committing to key actions, including collecting data to determine the extent of the problem within each jail, developing a plan that draws on proven research to combat the problem, and designing an approach to track progress going forward. And everyone from a local policymaker to a family member of a person with mental illness can play a critical role in the initiative, banding together to effect local change and create a national groundswell.

The initiative will kick off outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC (May 5), followed by local rollout events in Johnson County, KS (May 5), Miami-Dade County, FL (May 6), and Sacramento, CA (May 7). 

Register to Attend An Event or Watch the Live Streams
This announcement was supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Copyright © 2015 The Council of State Governments Justice Center, All rights reserved.

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