Behavioral Health/Substance Abuse

Behavioral health disorders (including substance abuse) require communication and coordination between criminal justice entities and community-based treatment providers and social service agencies. A high functioning system will be able to divert many individuals from entering, or being unneccessarily detained in, the criminal justice system. When entry into the criminal justice system is unavoidable, assessment, treatment, and linking individuals to post-release behavioral health services will curtail the revolving door phenomenon that has many people with behavioral health disorders cycling in and out of incarceration unnecessarily. To get involved, contact Behavioral Health Goal Leaders Sherry Blyth and Danny Smith.

Activities

National Council Health Justice Learning Collaborative

The Travis County Sheriff’s Office and Austin Travis County Integral Care were selected to participate in the National Health Justice Learning Collaborative, a collaboration between the National Council for Behavioral Health and the National Sheriff’s Association aimed at improving access to behavioral healthcare for incarcerated individuals and improving retention in care for those released from jail. Travis County was selected as one of three counties in the country to participate. To learn more, click here.

An Overview of Jail Diversion in Travis County

Travis County’s  Jail Diversion Programs and Strategies can be grouped along a continuum known as the sequential intercept model. The model contains five intercept points: 1) Law Enforcement and Emergency Services; 2) Initial Detention and Initial Hearings; 3) Jails and Courts; 4) Reentry from Jails, Prisons, and Hospitals; 5) Community Corrections and Community Support Services. At each intercept point, there are opportunities to divert individuals away from further involvment in the criminal justice system. Community collaboration makes coordination across the continuum possible and is necessary for a well-functioning criminal justice and behavioral health system.