LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A national initiative to reduce the number of people in jail with mental illness has selected Lubbock County as an Innovator County for their expertise in collecting baseline data on the number of people in the Lubbock County Jail system with a mental illness.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center, The National Association of Counties and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation began the Stepping Up Initiative in 2015 in an effort to inform and educate local, state and national leaders on reducing the number of people in jail who have mental illnesses.
Lubbock County joined the initiative in 2016 and implemented methods of identifying and reducing mental illness by creating a shared definition of serious mental illness, providing validated mental health screenings and collaborating with community leaders. Lubbock County was awarded a federal grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration program which provides funding and assistance toward meeting the goals of the Stepping Up initiative.
Lubbock County is one of 450 counties in 43 states that have committed to the Stepping Up goal. The Innovator Counties are those who have adopted the initiative’s three-step approach to maintaining accurate data on the prevalence of mental illness in Jails by establishing the shared definition of serious mental illness, ensuring everyone booked into jail is thoroughly screened, and regular reporting on this population.
Innovator Counties help other counties improve their data collection efforts by participating in training sessions and presentations, and sharing information and experiences through the Stepping Up website.
To see a list of Innovator Counties and find out more about the Stepping Up initiative, visit the website at stepuptogether.org